When a family member gets older or becomes too sick to care for themselves, we naturally want to do everything we can to care for them. However, even our best intentions can be overshadowed by the realities of caring for an aging person. Being a family caregiver is challenging work, and the emotional and financial tolls may be unsurmountable on your own.
According to the AARP, family caregivers provide upwards of half a trillion dollars each year in unpaid labor to care for their loved ones. As the costs of living continue to rise for everyone, taking care of a loved one increases families’ emotional and financial stress unless there is some outside relief and support. If you are currently taking care of an elderly family member or considering doing so in the future, it pays to know about programs that may help you get paid.
If your loved one receives Medicaid, they may be able to hire you as a paid caregiver in some states. The Medicaid Waiver Self-directed Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS) programs allow Medicaid participants to have decision-making authority over who cares for them and how the supplemental funds are spent. Depending on the type of Medicaid plan and the state’s requirements, you may be able to receive Medicaid funding to care for your loved one.
Administration On Aging & Department Of Aging Services
Each state has several local governmental agencies with programs that may be able to help you offset some of your caregiving costs. The Administration on Aging (AAA) may provide resources like:
- Meal plan
- Respite care
- Mobility assistance
- Caregiver training
- Other supplemental services
You can visit Eldercare.acl.gov for contact information for your local AAA Agency to learn more about available services and how to apply.
If the loved one you are caring for is a veteran, they may qualify for the Veteran Directed Care Program. Designed for veterans who require daily assistance and their caregivers, the Veteran Directed Care Program provides a budget to help meet the expenses of an aging place. With this budget, the veteran can hire a family member or another person to provide in-home care and purchase necessities for care management.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also provides Aid & Attendance, which increases veterans’ monthly pension if they need treatment, are bedridden, are visually impaired, or need a regular caregiver to help with daily activities. This caregiver can be a family member as well as any other person.