8 Essential Money Saving Tips For Caregivers

June 5, 2017
  1. Caregiver tag team: If you’re having trouble finding affordable care for your elder, start a care exchange with another family caregiver who lives near you. See if they would be willing to come over (or if you could drop your loved one off with them) for a few hours while you get a massage, or go to the dentist. Be sure to reciprocate the offer, and pretty soon you'll have a sustainable source of vital respite care.
  2. Let youngsters help: Recruit tweens and teens from your neighborhood to help out with yard work and other household chores. Finding a reliable and trustworthy kid is easier than you think; ask teacher friends, scouting organizations and reach out to local, faith-based organizations. From folding laundry and helping a sight-challenged senior read mail to bringing in the trash cans and pulling weeds, there are plenty of ways for youngsters to help.
  3. Use a sitter: You might not need an agency that charges $20 or more for companion care, running errands or providing some light housekeeping. I used Care.com to find a stay-at-home mom looking for a way to make money while her son was at school.  After my mom was released from the hospital, Michelle showed up each day after school carpool to walk my dog, serve lunch and run errands with mom for $10/hour.  Church and club connections can help you find sitters as well; my hair stylist hired a retired church member to spend the night at her mother’s home several nights a week to give her a break.
  4. Shop online: Weekly trips to the grocery or drug store for incontinence products can waste time and money.  Have supplies delivered right to their door...you can even set up automatic monthly delivery.
  5. Enlist Uncle Sam: There are government agencies and programs created to help caregivers. Connecting with them can result in help that you didn’t even know was available. Meal delivery and adult day care services might be provided for your low income parent, grandparent or elderly aunt. Senior Centers provide resources including services and information on aging and assistance for family and friends who care for older adults. You can find Aging and Adult Services in North Carolina connect with; in South Carolina, contact their Office On Aging.
  6. Find free and low cost equipment: A recent Craigslist search for a wheelchair turned up several of them along with walkers, scooters, shower chairs, toilet seat risers and bedside toilets.
  7. Get help with handiwork: Visit Elder Helpers, where volunteers register to offer their services based on their true desire to help elders. It’s a nonprofit that helps seniors needing help with shopping, reading, gardening, giving rides, cooking, cleaning and handiwork. The program strives to safely and conveniently connect volunteers with elders in their local communities.
  8. Cut living expenses: If it’s possible to share a living space it can often cut costs for everyone involved. Take it from a woman whose mother lives with her, this isn’t always a stress free option, but having one address instead of two helps me to keep expenses manageable and stay abreast of ever-changing health care needs.