As Millennials, we have been so fortunate and blessed to live at the time which we do. The economy has recovered and is doing well, we have technological and medical advancements all around us, and we learn great lessons from parents and mentors. However, as we live with our parents, many of us need to take care of them physically and financially. This is a whole new world to us; we can take care of ourselves but have never had to take care of others. In this article, we’ll go into how millennials can take care of their parents.
Understanding senior care costs
The first step in taking care of your parents is to understand how much professional care really will cost. This will depend on your parents and the needs they have, but let’s look at common options.
The first is home health aids. These are caregivers that offer basic services, like giving medication, changing bandages, or checking blood pressure. They have some training, but likely don’t have a degree on their hands. Home health aids will charge upwards of $20 per hour. However, if they check in for an hour or two while you’re at school or working, this shouldn’t be too big of a deal. Home health aids are great for covering the basics frequently throughout the week or on a daily basis if needed.
The second option is visiting nurses. These are individuals that are qualified and are licensed in some way. They have a good understanding of various medical conditions, and can care for your parents in emergencies as well as help with day to day activities. The only issue, though, is that they can charge as much or even more than home health aids. They can charge up to $60 per hour, which may be difficult on a daily basis. The one brightside, though, is that you know that regardless of what happens, your parents are in professional care.
The last option we’ll dive into is assisted living facilities. These are homes for the elderly where they have support and professional care around the clock. They are fed, taken care of, and are given fun activities throughout the day. You really won’t have to worry about them, but you may have to worry about the price. These can range from $2k-$6k depending where you are in the country.
Understanding services for the elderly
Now that you know the cost for taking care of the elderly, let’s dive into some services that can save you some cash. Your best option is to sign your parents (or even yourself) up for the AARP, or the American Association for Retired Persons. The AARP offers services specifically for those over the age of 50, but anyone at any age is allowed to join.The AARP offers discounts for travel, restaurants, movies, and vehicle rentals. It costs less than $16 each year, and you can get that money back quickly with everything you’ll save on. They also offer discounts for medical care, gyms, and other things to keep your parents healthy. People also meet through the AARP to go on walks, start book clubs, or socialize in general.It’s a great opportunity for you to save to care for parents, while also giving parents a warm community.
Another great program for the elderly is the State Health Insurance Assistance Program(SHIP). SHIP is completely free and provides counseling services for the elderly, family, and caregivers. While they don’t offer insurance itself, SHIP does educate, counsel, and counsel people on the best medical care options available. The resources it provides vary by state, you’ll be able to get up to date information on insurance for your parents. In some states, SHIP goes by a different name, but some quick googling should get you to the right place.
The last resource we’ll dive into is the national PACE association. PACE offers services like adult day care, dentistry, nutritional counseling, and many more. To apply, your parents must be 55 years old or older, and live in a PACE treatment area. Your parents would receive treatment comparable to a nursing home resident, while living in their normal community.
Now that you understand all the resources and costs of taking care of parents, the best thing to save to care for parents is to prepare early. Even if you’re still in high school, you can start saving to make sure your parents are taken care of when they need to retire. This may be talking to parents about retirement, or saving your own money for their future. Regardless of where you’re at in life, implementing a few good financial habits can go a long way.
First, the best thing you can do is to spend wisely. This will save you cash in the short term and the long term. This can be as simple as looking for discounted items at the store, waiting for sales to go on, or buying in bulk. An easy way to save money is the 30 day rule. Let’s say you want another pair of shoes or a new jacket. Find something at a reasonable price, and wait 30 days. If you still want it after 30 days, make the purchase. This simple rule will help you buy things you really need, rather than things you want.
Lastly, you can start bringing in some income to save. This can be side hustles, or starting to work earlier rather than later. Side hustles could include starting a dog walking or lawn mowing business to being a high school or college tutor. Uber is a great option for those with great gas mileage, and, for those with some extra space at home, you can rent out a room for airbnb. Assess your situation and do a bit of research; there’s bound to be a few side hustles to make life a bit easier for you.
Saving to care for parents can seem daunting at first, but as you understand the costs, services, and prepare early, you’ll be set. Do your due diligence and make a plan to make sure your parents are taken care of in the future.