Any tips or ideas how a caregiver can save their own money?


I was the the caregiver for my Dad and my worthless siblings made my life a living hell.. From dealing with adult services and law enforcement. But i learned the hard way, being a caregiver for a loved one is the hardest job ever and get used to everything being ur fault. Well im here to let you know if your in a predicament like this make sure you arrange in writing some kind of agreement of a final payment. I was so caught up on helping my dad, I didn't even think of when his condition gets beyond my capabilities. Well that time is here and instead of family members thanking me they look as if I spent the whole time draining his account. When in fact I was using my own money to purchase medication, vitamins, glasses, etc... Well now my job is over no help from brother and sister, im now receiving food stamps and living with my mum. Not what I planned at all.. Sometimes we get so tied up thinking about the lose of a loved one and our own life gets over looked. Make sure you look after yourself 50/50 maybe 60/40 and just remember once the siblings gets to tough on you, just start walk in.... Because once they start it never ends and they won't feel thankful for what you had done nor will they feel as if they owe you anything. Just get the mind frame as if this is your job.

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My first learning, after the passing of both my mom and dad... was to recognize that I CHOSE to be there. I decided that I wanted to help my parents and that helped me find peace in th along run and peace with my siblings. I needed to recognize that what I did every day was "my choice", not anyone else's. That enabled me to be happy with the past and let it go.

Then as far as dealing with siblings, they will never recognize what you do 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Mine did not appreciate what I did and by the way, because they were far away, my mom ended up giving them more money and showing them more kindness than she did for me, because she was trying to win their love. I agree, this is something we all need to think about and you need to stick up for yourself.

When I finally brought that to the attention of my mom, she said... OK I will give you my house. The only problem was that she didn't own a house to give to me. It's important to choose to take good care of yourself to the extent that you need to. When a parent offers to pay for the coffee or medication or anything else, do NOT be silly and refuse. Let them pay and take accountability for themselves. Keep records and a detailed accounting. I figured that out way too late.

I chose to be "that kind of daughter". I wanted to be the good one. I wanted to be kind to both of my parents. I chose to make them my priority. For the rest of my life I will have good feelings about doing what I felt in my heart was right.

For the rest of their lives, my brother and sister will not have those good feelings. That peace in my heart is priceless.
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Look at my screen name - been there, am there. Brother and sister did nothing for 5 years. One too far away (but moral support would have been ok), and the other just wanted whatever money they had left. My Dad went on Medicaid pretty much the same time we knew he would need long term care. I had to spend down all their money. Mom was still "in the community" at that time. The money grubbing sibling got a lawyer to make sure he/she got their fair share. FAIR???? Not at all. I did it all by myself, caring for two parents,one with dementia and the other self medicated. FAIR? I think not, but I live with no regret and they are to deal with their own emotions. Dad passed and Mom is now in a home. They call and text now. Whatever....So finances...all I can say is don't get trapped in the same story with your Mom as you did with your Dad. You don't know when she will get sick. Don't do round #2. Get the house in your name. Does she have a living will? Find out. Are you employable? Being with people definitely helps. Use this time to plan for your own future. Put YOU first.

Wishing you a very bright future after care giving,
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When the time comes where the caregiver has to start using their own money to care for a parent, it is time to look into Medicaid. A grown child should NOT be expected to use their own funds for this.
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Thank you for this question - HUGELY important, and we have major cultural confusion on the topic. Our mentality was set in a time where families lived in villages, close to extended families and communities, and elders could age in place - sometimes there was an unmarried daughter who stayed home to give care, and in days before women worked, this was seen as a gift to both. Other times a married family lived by and shared. We need to get real. Focusing on ideal setups more common in the past has really left caregivers hurt, bankrupt, neglected, shunned by family and we find we have gotten so used to being out of the mainstream pace of activity, it seems too rushed for living.

Every caregiver should set up their own retirement account and send a notice to everyone in the family about where it is, and how they are losing the opportunities to grow that income by taking time to care. Maybe even call it by a special identification, this is the Caregiver Retirement account, in case other family members step in - contributions need to be planned, regularly, for a caregiver in a working world is not losing money, mostly - they are losing work time, time for training, for building their own retirement savings.

I found an excellent book that looks directly at family-care relationships that combine the personal with the professional - "The Nanny Whisperer" - although it describes the need to understand that although one expects a nanny to love and nurture a young child - for that person, it is A JOB - their time is not their own, they must focus attention on the child. It is a good book for setting up expectations - and the last chapters are particularly good, for they address the questions that come up, the personal relations stuff "what if the nanny does a better job than I do as mother?" "What if they think they know more" -

The focus in our culture on "freedom" and "responsibility" - are based on values of young males of working (or fighting) age - designed in times when any home care was left behind, delegated to whoever would do the job. The role is then ignored, or praised and put on a pedestal but still left behind for periodic visits. This is our society's idea of "normal".

Yes, there are cultures and settings where some families still live nearby, or some where working people hire caregivers, but the topic is left very vague, about what care is needed, what is enabling or what time does it take for a caregiver to learn how to do the job that is needed?

And even science which is looked to for most of the expertise - those scientists were often never involved in direct care giving - so they provide medication to calm anxieties or belligerence - and create ideals that do not fit each situation in many significant ways - leaving siblings arguing over standards of care.

Obviously I have a position on this topic - and it is for caregivers to come out of the shadows, talk with each other (this list is a great resource by the way!!) - and identify the nature of the job, the time, worry, problem solving it takes - TRACK it daily!

Have chapters on "Perceived goals for this month..." because needs of the elder person evolve, new risks emerge, and the official systems send in only part time helpers who then leave - no one spends time with long term helpers, but they are the ones who are the backbone of quality and dependable care, who see the first signs of new risks, and who learn by experience to address them early - but often so early that distant, busy people, don't even see the size of the risk and the strategies to resolve them and keep things healthy.
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One of the recurrent themes of this blog is the self-centered sibling who doesn't want to help but who criticizes and interferes, making the caregiver's life all the more difficult. When a parent becomes sick and needs attention you learn a lot about the character of family members by the way they act. It is one thing to support "family values" but quite another to actually put those values into practice. There are a lot of people here who have dedicated their lives to caring for a parent. A tip of the hat to them. They deserve praise and recognition.
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I have decades of nursing experience, worked multiple full & part time jobs simultaneously for years, yet my siblings and spouse have no clue what I do for a living. Caregiving is brutal on the body and worse on the emotions, no matter if paid or not. Spouse finally believes me after caring for his dad for past year. He about lost his mind when dad started digging stool out with hands, although I told him many times that would happen.
Nobody knows what any job is really like until is becomes his or hers. Wasting your breath making them understand.
If you are new to CG role, have parents sign documents giving you financial reward after they die. If they cannot pay you, sign over house w stipulation they can stay til death, update will etc. No need to tell siblings. If they cared, they would already know. Good luck.
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The 1st thing i did was take my mother to an attorney. I wanted everything to be fair. I was taking o the full financial responsibility as far as her care was concerned. The attorney did her living will, and ALL OF HER ASSETS, life insurance, stocks, everything, was left to the grandchildren. I made sure she left nothing to us, as there was going to be WWIII anyway. Siblings were not at all pleased, but such is life. The attorney did however, stipulate that i be reimbursed for all medical expenses. His idea, not mine. Her villa sold, and i was paid back everything i spent. That wasn't why i took care of her, i just wanted her last months here to be the best i could give, she was only 59. It's been almost 11 years. Neither of my siblings speak to me, and I am totally ok with that. I have to take care of me.
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I see that there are a number of other caregivers that are having the same problems we are having. My wife and I have been caring for her mother for more than 25 years. Her so called loving sisters will not help at all with the help of caring for their mother. They will not even watch her so we can get away for just the evening foe a meal together. We have drained our accounts trying to keep my wife's mother happy but all we get from the sisters is the words you will be sorry. They believe that they should get everything with the oldest being the most dishonest. The only time she comes to the house is after she talks to her mom and finds out we did something or got something new. When she shows up she will tell her mom different lies for the reason she shows up and then when she returns to her home She will call later to ask about what we did, or where did it come from. What I learned is above all else take care of yourself first. do not let the siblings get to you they will have to answer for their actions in the future.
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I'm 72. Too old to start a retirement account. Just got fired from my job of 9 years because of my age. I'm caring for my mom 91 years old with Dementia, and my 65 year old brother who has Down's syndrome and cannot be left alone. I'm exhausted, scared, broke. Mom made a mess of her credit before I discovered she had dementia, and I'm left to pick up the pieces. Too much money coming in for the 3 of us to qualify for help, but not enough money coming in to pay all the bills. Mom just had a bout with Lymphoma, and I still owe medical bills from that. There's still month left at the end of the money and my worthless brother would rather critisize and accuse instead of help.
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I have a diabled nephew. He has physical and neurological problems. His Mom died and my brother raised him until he was 18 whenhe moved in with Mom. He had his problems that were hard for SIL to deal with. She didn't want him back. When we have discussed his future, she says her kids will helpif they have to. They were meanto him when he lived with them. Long story why we didn't raise him. Mom wanted him but at 80 couldn't handle his SS application and stuff like that. It fell on me. So here we r, I have Mom and he is living in Moms house until its sold. Since he has done well, I will help him to look for a place to live. I will use the Social Services to help with food stamps, etc. I have had set up, under a judges order, a Special Needs Trust that the agencies cannot touch but I can use for his care. I will probably have to be made his conservator because he can't handle money. I will always have to oversee him. One day he will be in a home because he will end up have a sort of dementia because of his neurolgical problem. Not sure when that will happen but at 65 I know it won't be me. My girls will still be young enough they will have to work. If I'm gone, I know my oldest will make sure he is OK and has what he needs but I don't expect her to care for him in her home. But as an RN who has worked rehab/nursing facilities she is the best one to oversee him.

We all do what we feel we have to do. But none of us should be forced into it. We need to make decisions on what is best for everyone.
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