The cost of caring for a loved one
3 caregiver costs to consider and where to go for help
When you’re a carer for someone you love, you don’t count the cost. Whether it’s your elderly parents, a child, a spouse or a relative, you want to do your best to take care of them no matter what.
However, as time goes on, there can be costs of caring for someone. Not only can it affect your own personal finances, but caring can also take a toll on your health and happiness as well.
Here we outline three caregiver costs you might need to consider and how you can get some help to manage the load.
When you’re caring for someone, you’re likely to need to take time off from work every so often. Whether it’s taking your loved one to medical appointments, rushing off in case of an emergency or taking extended leave.
According to the Carers NSW 2020 National Carer Survey, 1 in 4 carers had left a paid job in order to care, and 1 in 3 had reduced their working hours. Working less can affect your own finances and job security. It might result in:
- Less take home pay
- Fewer opportunities for promotion
- Less entitlements such as superannuation
- Decreased job security
There are also increased financial costs for family carers. Out-of-pocket costs can add up quickly and when you’re earning less, it could mean you have to dip into savings or go into debt.
According to the Carers NSW survey, nearly 2 in 3 carers had to pay extra for medicines. 1 in 2 carers had to pay extra for transport, and 1 in 3 for disability aids and health services.
The extra costs of caring could include:
- Extra medical expenses
- Household expenses including increased electricity and water bills
- Personal care items such as incontinence pads
- Transportation costs
Personal health costs
Of course, the cost of caring isn’t just a financial one. Caring for a loved one can be rewarding, but it can also put a strain on your emotions and your health. For example, there are often high rates of stress and psychological illness in family caregivers of people with dementia. In one study, 23.5% of Alzheimer caregivers felt anxiety and 10.5% experienced levels of depression.
A survey by Carers Australia found up to 75% of carers have reported poor sleep. When you’re not getting enough sleep, this can have a major impact on your own health and wellbeing. When you’re a carer, you may not have time to prioritise your own health, which can have consequences for your future.
Where can you get help for the cost of caring?
It’s important not to take on the entire caring load yourself. Depending on your circumstances, there are many places to go for help whether it be financial, emotional or practical.
Carer payments and allowances
Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for different payments to help you out. These payments include:
- Carer Payment– this is an income support payment if you give constant care to someone with a disability, severe medical condition or an older adult who is frail.
- Carer Allowance– this fortnightly supplement is if you give additional daily care to someone with a disability, severe medical condition or an older adult who is frail. You may be eligible to get both.
Depending on what state you live in, there are other care support services and carer payments available which may help with things such as transport, rebates for services and other concessions.
Get some help from caring organisations
In Australia, we have several organisations that are dedicated to providing help and support to carers. They provide detailed information and support in relation to finances, paid work, aids and equipment, looking after yourself and your rights.
Some of these organisations include:
- Carer Gateway
- Carers ACT
- Carers NSW
- Carers Victoria
- Carers SA
- Carers Queensland
- Carers Tasmania
- Carers WA
- Carers NT
Talk to Five Good Friends
If you’re a carer and struggling, we can help. Talk to us to find out what else could be available in your loved one’s Home Care Package or NDIS plan. You may be eligible for respite support, which could give you some well needed time off. We may need to update the care plan to provide additional support in areas you’re struggling.
Need some help? Get in touch with us today on 1300 787 581.