A lack of resources is a Catch-22 situation for many caregivers providing unpaid caregiving services for a family member or loved one.
Many people—especially younger caregivers—take on the responsibility because the cost of professional help is simply out of the question. Unfortunately, no matter how you slice it, taking care of people costs money, and without financial support, caregiving has the potential to become a terminal illness all its own. As time goes on, the physical, emotional, and actual cost of caregiving can trap caregivers in a cycle of financial stagnation or even failure.
One of the most game-changing challenges is tapping into government assistance. For family caregivers, it can mean the difference between tremendous financial hardship and stress, and an emotionally rewarding and sustainable experience. However, the rules and benefits can be specific and even confusing for inexperienced caregivers, and negotiating the red tape can be a huge obstacle even if you are highly qualified.
It shouldn’t have to be that hard. We’re going to show you the ins and outs of how to find government assistance for family caregivers, so you can be the caregiver you want to be without breaking the bank.
The Cost of Giving
Our team at I-Ally talks about the cost of caregiving in this country a lot. If you’re at all familiar with the price of basic healthcare for the average family in the United States of America—and how could anyone not be—you will be completely unsurprised to hear that caring for another human being you love is unbelievably expensive, and no amount of government assistance can make up for a lack of government will.
The status quo simply views taking care of a terminally ill or incapacitated loved one as a personal choice, not a public health crisis, and unfortunately, that’s not likely to change anytime soon.
This means making the most of the federal, state, and local resources that are actually available to you.
The Federal Government
Assistance for family caregivers through Medicare is often the primary source of financial support for most families. Medicare is the top healthcare provider in the nation, and its primary beneficiaries (65+ and Americans with disabilities) are nearly identical to the demographics of those who require caregiving services.
The federal government will do a lot for families, including assisting with professional services, paying for 80% of healthcare equipment, prescription benefits, and providing funds for additional caregiving resources. However, in nearly all cases, Medicare will NOT compensate you for caring for a spouse or family member, and it will NOT pay for full-time professional care.
We wish we could tell you something different, but that’s simply the law. Notwithstanding, Medicare is still a flagship service for qualifying caregiving situations, and you should take full advantage of the support and financial benefits it provides.
For basic, day-to-day needs, state support is where you’re going to find the kind of government assistance for family caregivers that will make an immediate impact on your personal burden. Every state is different, naturally, but in general, state programs look to fill the gaps Medicare leaves in the big picture.
Colorado is an excellent example of the types of offerings states provide for in-home caregivers. They offer three tiers of support at $340, $472, and $605 per month.
That money helps with practical things Medicare won’t cover, like meal prep, household assistance, respite care, financial and scheduling assistance, and even yard work you just don’t have time for.
It may not seem like much, but these are exactly the little puzzle pieces that can make all the difference for younger caregivers who are trying to find every spare second to balance a career, a family, and living their most full and meaningful life.
Big, anonymous state and federal programs with their multi-zero dollar figures are crucial for making ends meet, but never, ever underestimate the value of a pair of real helping hands down the street.
Local help is almost always small, but the people you connect with through these programs can often make the biggest impact where it really counts. They will help deliver your medications, bring you meals, watch your kids after school, and ensure that things actually happen for you, not just write you a check and wish you the best.
The wonderful local caregiver support services in your area are too numerous for us to mention here, but we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of websites and agencies that can connect you with the help you need where you need it.
A Community to Point the Way
We know how hard caregiving can be, especially for Millennials who are often hit out of the blue with a family emergency that requires them to step up. When you’re already in the middle of a crazy life, it can feel like there’s nobody out there to show you the way forward, and those first few months can be rocky and painful.
I-Ally has your back.
Our community of professional healthcare experts and in-home caregivers just like you can deliver the expertise and support you need to be empowered in your caregiving journey. Whether it’s learning how to care for yourself, balance out a busy life, or unlock the door for government assistance, when it comes to family caregiving, there’s no better circle of friends than I-Ally.