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Caring for an elderly loved one in Kansas City is a noble task, but unfortunately, it is also an expensive one. For example, at first, it may be possible to care for a loved one at home, but eventually, that loved one may need professional in-home nursing care or perhaps, even need to be placed in a nursing home where he or she can receive around-the-clock care.

However, such care at any step of the process comes with a price. People caring for their parents may find that they have to pay thousands of dollars in care. In fact, according to one source, approximately 40 million people in the United States are caregivers for a family member and over three out of four of them pay on average $7,000 annually in doing so.

This represents one-fifth, on average, of the income the caregiver brings home. Some caregivers dip into their retirement savings, while others have to take out loans to do so.

There are many expenses that come with caregiving beyond medical expenses. A caregiver may need to downsize his or her home to afford caring for his or her loved one. Or, the caregiver’s home will have to be renovated to make it safer for the caregiver’s loved one.

If the caregiver’s loved one still had a mortgage or other expenses, the caregiver may have needed to assume those expenses. An elderly loved one may also need specialized equipment, such as a wheelchair, that comes at a cost. Finally, once a loved one needs professional care, this has to be paid for as well.

There are personal costs to care giving. Caregivers may sacrifice personal essentials, such as vacations or even medical care, while caring for an elderly loved one. They may also find that caregiving affects how many hours they are able to work outside the home, as some may find that they need to change their hours or even take time off, whether it is paid or not.

In the end, it can help for families to have a care plan in place, well before one is actually needed. Through care planning, families can determine what level of care they can give their elderly loved ones and how they will pay for such care. Being able to afford eldercare is a priority for many, and through care planning this important topic can be addressed.

Source: The Washington Post, “Caring for a relative can mean draining your savings,” Rachel Bluth, Nov. 18, 2016