It’s no surprise that many older adults have decided to avoid moving into senior housing facilities as a result. From 2020 to 2021, senior housing occupancy dropped by 6.8%, according to the National Investment Center.
That, in turn, has increased demands on caregivers, who’ve reported extreme exhaustion and greater concerns about their mental health and emotional wellbeing during the pandemic. Their finances have also taken a hit. Many say that trying to balance caregiving with work responsibilities has increased their financial stress. Some may even have taken time off from paying jobs to maintain caregiving support.
A report from New York Life, which found that the monthly costs of caring for an aging relative are about $1,000, showed that costs have climbed even higher for 54% of caregivers during the pandemic.
Let’s take a closer look at the costs of caring for aging relatives, along with some tips on how caregivers can maximize their budgets during the post-pandemic recovery.
4 ways to maximize your budget as a caregiver
1. Use grocery pick-up and delivery
Despite the extra costs that may come with grocery pick-up and delivery, this convenient service may offer some hidden ways to potentially save money.
2. Consider a mortgage refinance
Mortgage rates have dropped considerably in recent months. Credit-worthy caregivers who own their own homes may be able to leverage these low rates to reduce their monthly costs. Lowering your mortgage APR by a single percentage point can save you a couple of hundred dollars per month.
3. Reduce your taxes
People who take care of an older adult in their home, cover more than half their expenses, and meet certain other requirements may be able to claim that person as a dependent and receive the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. It provides a $500 tax credit per qualifying dependent for caregivers in 2020, among other benefits.
4. Search for discounts on prescriptions
With the Kaiser Family Foundation reporting that 89% of people aged 65 and up take prescription medication, caregiving for an older adult can come with sky-high pharmacy bills. You may be able to lower the costs of prescription medications through an assistance program. These are often offered by pharmaceutical companies to help people with Medicare Drug Plan (Part D) pay for their medications.
Here are some links to other resources that can help provide insights to making better financial decisions.