The Price of Informal Care

As our population ages and our lifespans grow longer, most of us will have to decide if we are ready to become an informal caregiver. An informal caregiver is someone who provides care for a sick or disabled parent, spouse, child, or relative without being paid. The U.S. Bureau of the Census predicts that by 2020 the number of people over 80 years old will increase by more than 50%. That’s an awful lot of people who will be needing some sort of long term care. Couple that with the current trend of shorter hospital stays and the increase of medical procedures being performed on an outpatient basis, and you quickly realize there will be many people needing help to function independently.

When someone you care for reaches the point of needing some help, for financial reasons, your first instinct may be to take on the role of caregiver. Before making that important decision you need to think about the price you may be paying. Make no mistake, there will be changes you never even considered. The first thing you’ll notice is how much time is taken out of your day. Whether your caregiving consists of housekeeping chores, doing laundry, running errands, performing home maintenance, providing transportation, or providing personal care, it will translate into taking time away from your job, your family, and your own personal life.

Your caregiving will eventually have an effect on your own finances when you need to take days off or perhaps a leave of absence to deal with your loved one’s needs. Maybe your full time job will have to become a part time job or an early retirement will be necessary to give you time to provide care. You may face out of pocket expenses for food or medications. Transportation costs will arise for trips to the doctor or running errands for your loved one. These changes will all affect your wallet directly.

Most significantly, your own personal well-being will pay a price for the care you provide. You will notice a change physically, psychologically, and socially. Your stress level will rise as the demand for your time increases. Headaches and fatigue will be your new companions and a good night’s sleep will be a thing of the past. As your loved one’s needs take up more of your personal time, you’ll reduce your social events and give up once enjoyed leisure activities. And then the self-doubt and guilt feelings will come into play. Juggling two lives makes you feel like you aren’t handling either of them properly but you don’t have time to do more! Are you truly prepared to be an informal caregiver?
Are you prepared to pay the price? What roadblocks have you met on your journey to care for a loved one? Share below and visit us at:


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Filed under Aging in Place, Caregiver, companionship, Home Care, Personal care, Trillium HomeCare

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