When a parent or relative starts needing assistance with basic care and daily tasks, an adult child or family member will often step in to help. This act of informal caregiving is admirable and can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, but sometimes comes with unanticipated costs.
Being a family caregiver doesn’t necessarily seem expensive. You may think of it as a grocery run here and there, checking in on mom and dad once a week, or transportation to medical appointments. In fact, many adults believe that caring for their parents themselves is more cost-effective than paying for a professional caregiver or community.
However, according to a study by the AARP, the estimated economic value of unpaid caregivers was approximately $470 billion in 2017—but that’s only the monetary value. The cost of family caregiving can also include mental, emotional, and physical costs, as well.
If you’re deciding whether to move your family member into an assisted living community or to continue caring for them at home, you must consider all the costs that come with caregiving—monetary and otherwise. The Springs at Simpsonville encourages family caregivers to understand some of the “hidden costs” of being a family caregiver and recognize the benefits that senior living communities can bring.
Impact of Caregiving on Personal Time
Caring for a parent can be a great opportunity for you to spend time and bond with them, but depending on their health and care needs, it can also require a more significant time commitment than you may have expected. As a caregiver, it can be challenging to juggle your caregiving responsibilities with family time, social time, and even alone time.
For those family caregivers who feel like they need a break from caregiving to focus on personal obligations or other responsibilities, respite care can be a valuable solution. Respite and short-term care services are designed to give family caregivers a much-deserved break while allowing their family member to receive expert care in a comfortable and friendly environment.
Impact of Caregiving on Income or Job Advancement
According to a Gallup survey, “More than 1 in 6 Americans working full-time or part-time report assisting with the care of an elderly or disabled family member, relative, or friend (caregiving.org).” As care needs can change, many caregivers who continue to work full-time may have to cut their hours so they can keep up with their caregiving duties. This can result in lost wages and, potentially, lost eligibility for benefits.
While some employers may be flexible with working caregivers, others may not be—and they may overlook caregivers for promotions or other advancement opportunities.
Trying to balance caregiving with a full-time job can be demanding, but it’s also not the only option. Senior living communities, like The Springs at Simpsonville, support family caregivers. These communities can provide a safe, caring, full-time home for your family member, providing you with peace of mind.
Impact of Caregiving on Physical Health
It’s been well-documented that family caregivers are at higher risk for stress and depression, which can eventually result in long-term physical health problems. Because of the many obligations of informal caregivers, they are less likely to engage in preventive health measures, meet their own medical needs, or even practice self-care. Together, this can result in chronic stress, caregiver burnout, or other personal challenges.
As a family caregiver, knowing when to seek support can help reduce stress and improve overall health. Whether you transition your parent into an assisted living community full-time, or simply take advantage of respite care, utilizing the senior care services from these communities can be extremely rewarding and valuable for your mental, emotional, and physical health.
Small Expenses That Add Up
While you may not think that the weekly grocery run or transportation to appointments will cost you that much, these small expenses can add up and lead to feelings of financial strain for family caregivers. According to a 2016 AARP Report, “more than three quarters (78%) of caregivers are incurring out-of-pocket costs as a result of caregiving (AARP).”
Aside from the obvious expenses such as assistance with a mortgage or medical bills, caregivers may not realize all the small costs that they’re incurring. Whether it’s home modifications to make your parents’ house safer, or gas and car repairs from driving to and from appointments, all of these costs can add up considerably.
While it may seem like these small expenses would be more cost-effective than a senior living community, it’s important to do your research to understand the value these communities bring. Senior living packages include not only a living space, but numerous amenities such as meals, transportation, housekeeping services, activities, salons, and so much more!
A Solution to Hidden Costs
Being a family caregiver is a heroic act of compassion, selflessness, and love. Sometimes, though, the hidden costs of caregiving can sneak up and cause emotional, physical, and financial stress. While you may have thought that caring for a family member yourself would be more cost-effective, it may be beneficial to review your budget and understand the value of a senior living community.
Whether it’s long-term assisted living or short-term respite care, senior living is a great solution to ease some stresses of caregiving while providing your parent or family member with professional and compassionate care. Beyond this, it allows you to focus on being a daughter/son to your parent.
The Springs at Simpsonville offers inspired senior living in Simpsonville, South Carolina, to provide residents with the care they need. Our care professionals provide best-in-class care, all while giving family caregivers peace of mind.
If you and your family are deciding on whether or not a senior living community is right for you, we encourage you to contact our team or schedule a visit to our community, The Springs at Simpsonville!