Being a caregiver is tough, especially if you still have a job. Not only do you need to deal with the stress of looking after a loved one, but, you need to manage your career as well.
Even if you are really good at your job, this can result in missed deadlines and a drop in performance. And, even if you manage to keep all the balls in the air, you do so at the expense of your own happiness and wellbeing.
Of course, you could always leave your job, at least temporarily. But, the financial consequences of such a decision could be significant. In fact, according to AARP, the average caregiver who leaves their job to look after a loved one full time loses over $300,000 in wages and other benefits over the course of their career!
That’s a bitter pill to swallow, even if you know that looking after your mom, dad, brother or sister is the right thing to do!
The irony here is that family caregivers aren’t just helping their loved ones. They are taking a huge burden off of society!
In many cases, if a family member does not step in to help an elderly family member who needs them, Medicaid may end up paying for assisted living of nursing care.
By the way, the eligibility requirements for Medicaid can be quite complicated, so, you may want to check out this article or contact an attorney if you are considering this option.
All this leaves many family caregivers asking themselves…
On the surface, it seems like a win-win. If more people decided to become family caregivers, the burden on the state and federal finances would be reduced.
Unfortunately, until recently, most states did not appear to be overly interested in helping family caregivers.
Well, now, there are signs that at least a few states have started to recognize the contribution of family caregivers. These states – including Washington State and Hawaii – are even putting their money where their mouth is and giving caregivers direct assistance.
Specifically, in Hawaii, the Kupuna Caregivers Assistance Act, provides working family caregivers with up to $70 per day in benefits. These benefits include home-delivered meals, adult daycare, cleaning services, homemaker services, personal care, respite care and transportation.
In order to be eligible for the program, among other requirements, you must be working at least 30-hours a week. Check out the video below for additional information:
In Washington State, a similar bill, the Long-Term Care Trust Act, could give as much as $100 per day to family caregivers. In addition to helping caregivers and their families, the goal of the program is to reduce the financial burden that the state Medicaid budget caused by an increasing number of older adults who require assisted living or nursing care.
If you are passionate about this topic, I highly encourage you to get in touch with your state representatives.
Let them know what you think should be done to support family caregivers in your neighborhood. They won’t know, unless we tell them!
Do you think that the states should get more involved in helping family caregivers – even if their only motivation is to reduce the burden on their Medicaid budgets? What would you like to see your state do to support caregivers? Let’s start a conversation!