CAREGIVER “BURNOUT”

Typical Situation We See: Parents are aging and my dad has dementia. Parents are “okay at home,” but only because Mom is providing 24-7 care.  Soon, Mom will have made herself sick and/or Dad is going to need more care than Mom can give him. The family thinks that nursing home care is too expensive, even though Dad needs 24/7 supervision and Mom is working herself ragged.  The oldest child tells me, “There is no way my father is ever going into the nursing home.” 

What is the next step? Mom is paying a heavy price right now to keep Dad at home.  Perhaps the price the not financial, but there is a physical, psychological and emotional price. Like most women her age we’ve met, she wouldn’t dream of allowing anyone else to take the role of primary caregiver to her husband.  In her day, when they said “for better or for worse” and “till death do us part,” they meant it.

But we often see wives (and husbands, as well) who literally work themselves to death caring for an ill spouse, and that is not good for either one of them.

In addition to the physical, emotional and psychological costs associated with long-term care giving, there are financial costs. But it often comes as a surprise how these various costs compare to one another.

Home help sounds good, but is often not sufficient for an ill spouse who needs 24-7 care. If Mom just needs some extra help around the house for a few hours a day, you might get away with paying someone $10 an hour for 20 hours per week. Let’s call that $800 a month. But what if Dad needs care-givers for 24-hours a day? One can easily be expected to pay $80,000-$100,000 per year for quality in-home care.

Many are surprised to learn that a nursing home is not the most expensive option, but often the least expensive option for someone needing full-time care. 
At Longstreet Elder Law we explore any options for financial assistance available to you. Very few people are aware of the resources that are available and when one might qualify for those benefits.

I tell my clients, “Let’s have an honest conversation. Let’s plan now, so we don’t have to do ‘crisis planning’ later.”