Watching your parents get older is difficult but it’s something that we all have to go through eventually. They cared for you when you were young and now it’s your turn to look after them. Supporting them and helping them adapt to their old age will allow them to maintain their independence for as long as possible.
Unfortunately, there will come a time when they need more direct care from you. As they start to experience more health problems and their mobility suffers, they will need your help.
There is a big emotional cost involved with caring for parents because it’s difficult to see them in a vulnerable state and it’s incredibly stressful when you are trying to juggle their care with the rest of your responsibilities.
But even though managing the emotional cost is important, you need to consider the financial cost too.
Money is probably the last thing on your mind when you are trying to look after your parents but if you are going to provide for them, you need to organise your finances. These are some of the costs you need to consider.
As your parents get older, they may need certain modifications to their home to help them with mobility. A few simple handrails aren’t going to break the bank, but if they are unable to get up the stairs and you need to install a stairlift, that is going to cost you an average of £10 a week to hire one.
However, there are grants available, in certain cases, so make sure you look into this. If they need to use a wheelchair on a regular basis, they will need ramps and this can also get quite expensive (usually around £700).
The bathroom often needs changes as your parent’s mobility suffers. Getting in and out of the bath can be quite dangerous, so you should consider installing a bath with a door or swapping the bath for a shower.
A walk-in bath can cost anywhere between £1500 and £5000 depending on the features. In some cases, you may decide that a wet room is the safest option, but that could cost between £5000 and £10,000 to install.
If your parents need help with a few basic household tasks and you have enough time, it’s fairly easy to manage on your own. However, as their health issues get worse, they will need professional care. The cost of care varies a lot depending on what level of care they need and how long the carers need to spend with them.
Hourly carers will come in and administer simple medical treatments and help out with general day to day tasks. But if they require round the clock care, you may need to pay for live-in carers, and that will be more expensive.
If it becomes unsafe for your parents to stay at home on their own because they require constant care, you may have to consider moving them into a care facility. The cost of this varies a lot depending on the facilities, but you can expect to pay at least £600 a week for a basic care home. Covering the cost of this long-term can make it very difficult to manage your finances.
Moving parents into your home
Receiving care in their own home or moving into a care facility are not the only options for your elderly parents. They could also move into your home so you can care for them there. This is a big decision to make and it’s not the right option for everybody, so you have to consider your lifestyle first. If you already have a busy work and family life, be realistic about whether you can provide the care that your parents need or not.
If you are confident that this is the right decision, you need to think about the financial implications first. The other costs, like home modifications and carers may still apply but you also have to consider the cost of having an extra person in the house. Add up what your average energy bills are and determine a rough cost per person. Other costs, like your average food bill, are going to go up too.
Your parents may be able to help you manage some of these costs, depending on their retirement savings, so it’s something that you should speak to them about ahead of time so you can make the necessary arrangements. However, you should be prepared for the fact that you will have to cover some of the costs.