Being a caregiver to an older adult can be very rewarding for both the caregiver and the person receiving the care. However, being a caregiver also is hard work. It’s hard mentally, emotionally, physically and sometimes financially, as well. However, certain programs and actions can sometimes make caring for an aging parent less difficult.
There are a variety of benefit program and support services are available to older adults who need care. Tapping into these sources can help free up financial resources that are otherwise being provided by an adult child caregiver. Programs vary by state, but here are a few places to start–
Administration On Aging- This program has an “eldercare locator,” which is a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging and is designed to connect caregivers with services for older adults and their families.
ARCH National Respite Network And Resource Center- This resource center provides a service engine that helps caregivers locate respite services in their community, as well a search for respite funding.
Cash And Counseling Programs- These programs allow for payment of family member caregivers by classifying the older adult as an “employer” who can then allocate program funds as “wages” for their caregiver “employee.” Program requirements vary by state, and there are some restrictions based on geography, financial status of the older person, and disability.
National Council On Aging- The NCAA provides a computerized benefits search engine, called BenefitsCheckUp, which helps find public and private benefits programs that may be appropriate for older adults needing care
Medicaid- Medicaid is a state-run program that may provide home care coverage for eligible older adults. Services may include help with bathing, dressing, cooking, cleaning, eating, moving around, and other activities of daily living. Medicaid eligibility is limited to those with very few assets and older adults must “spend down” before becoming eligible.
Medicare- Medicare is a national health insurance program that covers people age 65 years or older, some disabled individuals under age 65, and people with end-stage renal disease. Part A covers hospital care and Part B covers medical care. Most people pay a monthly fee for Part B coverage. Medicare beneficiaries may be eligible for Medicare prescription drug coverage, regardless of income, health status, or current prescription drug costs.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)- SSI benefits are available to people age 65 years or older, with or without disabilities, who meet the financial limits. People who receive SSI also may be eligible for food stamps. Importantly, SSI is not based on prior work history.