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Tuesday, 17 April 2018 02:00

Facing finances: the financial triple threat of care giving

More often than not, many care givers are thrust into the position of caring for an elderly parent, partner or loved one without fair warning. Maybe it was a bad fall, a sudden bout of illness or a turn for the worse for an Alzheimer’s patient. Either way, full-time care giving and the financial strain is just not something you had / have prepared for.

In fact, a recent survey was conducted by which found that 63% of care givers have no financial plan on how to cover the care of a loved one for the next 5 years. While 62% of the survey claimed that the cost of care giving has impacted their own financial security for the future.

Research over the years has found that the financial toll of care giving actually poses a triple threat for most care givers:

  1. Unplanned-for care giving expenses i.e. medical co-payments, prescription medication and more
  2. Personal expenditure: spending your own money on groceries, toiletries, household goods, petrol and more
  3. Reduced / minimal work pay due to care giving duties and time spent away from work  

With that being said, how prepared are you and your elderly loved ones for what’s to come in the future?

3 ways to prepare for their health care future

1. Encourage your loved ones to start saving now

Unfortunately only a small portion of health care costs related to old age are covered by most medical aids. If your loved one plans to survive on a retiree income funded by the government, try and encourage them to begin saving now, even if their health is still up-to-scratch. Encourage them to set-up a separate bank account or take out a retirement plan dedicated to saving money for when it’s needed most.

2. Do your homework when it comes to medical coverage

Even if your loved ones have been on the same medical aid coverage for years, how much do they know about the coverage offered to them in their retiree years? Does their medical aid offer a savings account or specialised gap cover, tailored to older age? It may be time to encourage them to look at the cover they have and assess whether it is extensive enough.

3. Don’t skip the fine print

Make sure you go over exactly what is stipulated in the fine print with your parents or loved ones when signing up for new medical aid coverage. It’s best to double check that any chronic conditions, specific medications, physical or psychiatric therapy they might need will be covered with a new plan.

If not, then read up on terms of their gap cover and whether these conditions will be covered there. Pay close attention to coverage limitations, especially on doctor’s visits. In this instance, it may be best to meet with a professional representative of the medical aid you’re signing up with and discuss in detail what might be needed and what will be covered.

Ultimately, your older age is about taking things into your own hands from as early on as possible. If you are approaching a retiree age or have elderly loved ones who may require care, planning ahead is the best option to ensure you all live out the golden years of life relatively stress free!

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