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Financial Issues Facing Caregivers in Aged Care

When you think about being a carer, the reward of giving comes to mind. Yet, this idea is often overtaken by how complex and demanding the role will be. Financial issues facing voluntary caregivers is impacting on the lives.

Voluntary carers take the burden off an already strained aged care system. But, they often take on the burden, both emotionally and financially. According to “Hill & Brody (2019)”, carers are more likely to receive income support. They’re also more likely to receive less income than non-carers. According to Carers Australia (2015), carers experience lower rates of full-time employment. Other financial concerns include out-of-pocket costs to assist the person they’re caring for.

Out-of-Pocket Costs For Carers

When buying essential items to assist person’s that you’re caring for, you could be out-of-pocket more than you think. Expenses related to caring might include helping to pay for medications. You might also help with medical supplies, transportation, food, and more. These out-of-pocket costs can build up to hundreds or thousands of dollars each year. Research suggests that medications are the greatest out-of-pocket cost to voluntary carers of the aged and unwell.

Caregivers Living in the Moment

Having savings is part of having financial stability. This is at risk for carers because it gets put on hold for caregiving. If you’re an ageing Australian providing informal care, your retirement plans could get placed on hold too. But rest assured that there’s help available to get your plan on track. Having long-term goals for financial stability is important for anybody. Getting help to plan and budget will benefit your wellbeing long term. Your plan could include downsizing, working part-time, or having a clearer budget. A financial adviser will help you to achieve your retirement goals.

Voluntary Carers With Debts

Debts add a large burden to many people. If you have a bank loan, credit card or car loan, they give you a sense of financial instability. As primary caregiver, debts can become unmanageable due to changes in employment. For those who can’t see any hope, there are free financial counsellors available. Take a look on the National Debt Helpline website to find one.

Financial Problems for Carers: No Savings

The unexpected can happen when you’re the primary caregiver. If you have some emergency money put away, this can help you through financial issues. Many voluntary carers have no savings. Thus, the idea of having emergency money in the bank sounds ludicrous. When you meet with a financial counsellor, discuss having funds for emergency scenarios. Otherwise, you might find yourself with increased debt to help you through the unexpected.
 
Finally, The Australian Government provides payments to support carers. There’s also help to arrange and pay for some services. either it’s a government funded aged care service, or rent assistance, help and support is available. For more information on financial support for carers, go to the Carer Gateway.

References:

Carers Australia (2015). The economic value of informal care in 2015. https://www.carersnsw.org.au/Assets/Files/Access%20Economics%20Report.pdf 

Hill, T., Broady, T. (2019). Understanding the social and emotional needs of carers: Final report (SPRC Report 2/19). Sydney: Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney. http://doi.org/10.26190/5c59202697201


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