In addition to the physical and emotional demands of caregiving, providing for the present future medical and living expenses of a loved one can be financially challenging and requires planning.
Assessment of the Financial Situation
Before you can plan for future living and medical expenses, locating—or in some cases creating—documentation on the following is important.
All accounts (as well as pertinent account details) including:
- Savings accounts
- Checking accounts
All investment assets (along with all relevant account information), such as:
- Money market accounts
- Certificates of deposit (CDs)
- U.S. Savings Bonds, treasury bonds
- Other money market and stock market equity investments
All retirement benefit information (along with all relevant account details), including:
- Retirement plans
- Individual retirement accounts (IRAs)
- Military benefits
- Social Security benefits
All types of insurance (and pertinent account information), including:
- Long-term care
- Life insurance
All legal documents, including:
- Power of attorney
- Living trust
- Any necessary witness signatures and notarizations
Locate all relevant personal property documents, such as deeds/mortgages/liens for all property including:
- Real estate
- Personal belongings (such as home furnishings, jewelry, collectibles)
Any arrangements and prepayments made
Debts and Liabilities
Any debts, including:
- Outstanding accounts
- Lawsuit settlements
Anticipation of Future Expenses
Once you’ve gained a better understanding of the current financial situation, the next step is to estimate any future expenses that may result from changes in your loved one’s health or living situation.
Some of these estimates can be obtained from the agencies that provide the products and services, while others may be covered partially or wholly by insurance providers.
Possible Future Expenses
- Medical Services (copayments, deductibles, uncovered expenses, maximum benefits, etc.)
- Travel and Lodging costs
- Medications (both prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines)
- Medical Supplies and Home Adaptations (wheelchair, ramp, lift chair, electric stair climber, hospital bed, etc.)
- Support Services (personal care, respite, home health, etc.)
- Alternative Living Arrangements (assisted living, skilled nursing home, etc.)
Resources to Ensure Your Own Financial Security
It is just as important to safeguard your own financial situation while you care for your loved one.
Through government agencies, you can find financial protection and support programs including:
Reimbursement for Caregiving
Allegheny County Area Agency on Aging
Tax Deductions and Credits
Internal Revenue Service
You may be able to claim your loved one as a dependent to receive expense deductions on your federal taxes. The website provides information on reducing your federal taxes while caring for a spouse or dependent.
AARP Tax Aide
American Association of Retired Persons
Tax assistance is available through a collaboration between AARP and the IRS Tax Counseling for the Elderly program. Assistance is available online or you can find an AARP Tax-Aide site near you.
Professionals that provide assistance in planning for immediate and long-term financial needs include:
- Financial Advisors
- Estate Planners
Many banks offer services that will help manage your accounts.
Before hiring any professional for assistance, be sure to ask if the professional is familiar with elder care or terminal illness issues, and also verify his or her:
- Work experience
- Educational background
- Membership in professional associations
Anticipation of Future Expenses
Watching Out for Scams and Staying Alert
Not a lot of time seems to pass before we hear about another scam on the news that has left a person or family victimized and in distress. One of the latest scams revolved around scammers claiming to be a government agency investigating a supposed ‘fine’ that could be repaid in gift cards. Anyone could feel pressured to reveal personal information that could put them at risk.
However, the website Marketplace wanted to look closer at whether "the aging brain may become more susceptible to financial scams." The subject was featured on a recent podcast that is a part of their larger project 'Brains and Losses: The Bottom Line on Aging and Financial Vulnerability.' You can find the podcast here.
Financial Assistance Resources
Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW)
Phone: 717-787-1870 (Helpline)
Social Security Administration
U.S. Veterans Administration, Department of Veteran Affairs
We are here to help with your billing questions and concerns. Please call UPMC Patient Financial Services Center or UPMC Customer Service or visit our Paying My Bill site to learn more about the services we offer, such as payment plans, price estimates, and Financial Assistance.
- UPMC Patient Financial Services Center: 1-800-371-8359
- UPMC Customer Service: 1-844-591-5949