Saving Money on Caregiving

Little Ways to Make Caring for a Parent A Lot Less Expensive

October 28, 2020
Ramona Henri Wheezy

My mom has been living with me since 2004. A 2003 spine surgery was the primary motivator to get her to leave Ohio and join me in North Carolina. Paying for flights to see her, a home health aide and a medical taxi service to get her to appointments in another state was expensive. I had no idea then just how expensive things would get. 

Along the way I've found some ways to cut costs. 

Mobility: Should you suddenly find yourself in need of a wheelchair, walker or shower chair there are plenty of pre-owned options available. You can take your chances shopping at the Value Village or Goodwill store near you or  hop online. ebay, Craiglist and Facebook are good places to start. You can also go to Goodwill Home Medical Equipment site.

Goodwill Home Medical Equipment refurbishes and sanitizes all equipment, ensuring that everything purchased from the site works as promised and is safe to use as soon as it arrives. Wheelchairs, hospital beds, canes, walkers, pediatric equipment, shower chairs, and more can all be found through  at a more affordable price than buying new.

Hygiene: Lots of people are swearing by bidets as a way to use less toilet paper and to manage toileting for people who may find it difficult to wipe. Buying and installing a plumbing fixture can cost hundreds of dollars. There are less expensive toilet attachments available. For $35 Amazon will sell you a non-electric mechanical bidet toilet attachment called Luxe Bidet Neo 120. There is also a portable hand-held option that I find helpful called the Fridababy Frident the MomWasher that you can buy from Target for $16

Similarly bathtime can be tricky if you don't have a roll-in shower or walk-in tub. Upgrades like that can run you thousands. Adding grab bars can be helpful if your loved one needs a hand getting into the tub. Some use suction cups, but I prefer the bathtub grab bar that is secured to the tub. 

Incontinence: Supplies are a money pit. Ordering diapers in bulk online is your best bet. You can reduce costs by as much as 50-80% over in-store purchasing. The longer the contract the cheaper the price. You can also use a booster pad with an adult diaper. The pads are cheaper and they extend the life of the diapers which can be very expensive when you use multiples each day. 

Medical supply companies sell adult wipes, but large baby wipes get the job done for a lot less. You'll pay upwards of $3 for a pack of 48 adult wipes. Large baby wipes can be yours for about $1.50 for 80. 

Of course cloth bed pads can be reused over and over again, but you'll be doing laundry practically every day. If you use disposable pads and don't mind hitting the pet aisle then puppy pads can save you lots of money. You'll pay about $19 for 30 bed pads. The same basic product from the pet store costs about $14 for 40. 

Hired Help: Knowing your needs is important. There is a big difference between skilled nursing care and companion care. The average pay is about $21. You'll pay less if you need homemaker services and more if your loved one needs help with meds and bathing. Your loved one might only need help for a few hours a day. You might only need a break a few times a week. It is also less expensive to hire a home health companion independently by using or Oftentimes asking friends and church members for referrals is a great way to go.