The Caregiving Crisis

I routinely have family members including spouses or concerned friends who come to us—usually regarding family or friends with declining cognitive abilities with different levels of diagnosis of dementia/Alzheimer’s disease. Other times they come for a traumatic health event such as a vehicular accident or fall, or a sudden health event such as a debilitating stroke which renders a client or loved one incapacitated. Many times, it is physical only; other times mental deficits, or a combination of both. It can happen to the young, middle aged, or elderly. Most times nothing has prepared a person or family to handle this situation. As a society we are not really educated to face these issues unless forced to, or for our employment. Caregiving can be all-consuming and can put the caretaker at risk of health, personal, and financial issues as well as the burden, both mentally and physically and timewise on the caretaker. Many times, the caretaker has their own children or spouse to care for, plus caregiving for a parent or other relative. This is commonly referred to as the “sandwich” generation.

Financially, a MetLife study estimates that more than $300,000 of lifetime savings can be sacrificed by the caretaker. This can include lost wages, retirement benefits and additional costs incurred to the caretakers. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, the average family caregiver is 49 years old with 45% being men, and 55% being women. Only 8% of Americans have long-term care insurance to help pay for caregiving.

But there are options which we help our clients with for their loved ones needing help at home. Indiana offers the Medicaid Waiver Program, which “waives” the requirement of living in a facility for Medicaid to cover the cost of home care. The Waiver program allows individuals requiring nursing home care to remain at home with assistance from caregivers. We have had family hired and trained by the caregiving service as an employee to care for a family member and loved one. Caregiver Homes also has a program when living with a person needing care that provides a monthly tax-free stipend. The best option for home care for each person through the Waiver program is based on the particular facts of every client’s situation.

If you, or a loved one needs assistance at home, give my office a call and we can help you get the care at home while also legally preserving your hard-earned savings.