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Taking care of an elderly parent, grandparent or other loved one is a noble thing to do, but it can be stressful. I know, because I’ve been there.
Stress isn’t the only downfall of being a loving caregiver. Unfortunately, if you’re living with the person you’re caring for, it can take a toll on your finances as well. To help ease the financial burden, here are some things I learned while being a live-in caregiver for both my parents (may they rest in peace).
- Money-Saving Tips for Home Caregivers
- Use coupons on caregiver products and groceries.
- Take advantage of discounted monthly subscription plans.
- Sign up for shopper rewards programs.
- Reach out to friends, family and other home caregivers.
- Use the internet to get free power of attorney forms and living will papers.
- Save money by purchasing discounted gift cards.
- Contact your local utility companies to inquire about discounts.
- Consider signing your loved one up for a free Silver Sneakers membership.
- Save on prescription drugs.
- Toss the disposable incontinence supplies for good.
- Make your own reusable incontinence wipes.
- Ask for discounts before buying online.
- Sign up for a free mobile phone and wireless service.
Money-Saving Tips for Home Caregivers
Use coupons on caregiver products and groceries.
Before purchasing caregiver supplies, groceries and essential household products, look for digital and traditional coupons. If you know the brand names of the things you need, try visiting the brand’s website. Many times companies have a section on their site with coupons and discounts. You can also search the web by using the brand name, then coupons (e.g. Depend coupons).
Take advantage of discounted monthly subscription plans.
Some companies offer what most refer to as a subscribe and save plan. It’s a great option for things you get often, such as gloves, face masks, perineal incontinence wash, underpads and protective underwear.
The way it works is the company ships the product(s) on the delivery frequency you specify, then charges the card you have on file with them.
Businesses that offer monthly subscription plans usually give discounts, some offer free shipping along with the discount, and you can cancel the plan anytime you want.
Sign up for shopper rewards programs.
Shopper rewards programs are another great way to save money on elderly care products. Through rewards programs, you earn points based on the dollar amount you spend. You can later use those points to get discounts on future orders. Unless the company states otherwise, you can combine shopper rewards with sales, as well as use coupons and cashback programs for additional savings.
Reach out to friends, family and other home caregivers.
Rather than pay for adult daycare services when you need a break or have to run errands, turn to family, friends and/or other home caregivers for help.
When I was taking care of my dad and he reached the point where we couldn’t leave him home alone, my family was always offering to help if I needed them. Well, one day my husband and I needed a break and my kids were with their dad, so we called my uncle to see if he’d stay with dad for a couple of days while we went camping. Without hesitation, he agreed.
Dad and my uncle enjoyed their time together, and my husband and I had a relaxing and stress-free camping trip.
Then there was another day we needed to run into town. On that day, my aunt, uncle and cousin visited with dad while we ran a few errands in town.
Usually, when family offers you help, they’re not just saying it to be nice. They really do want to help, so don’t hesitate to call them if you need a sitter. It will save you money and everyone will be happy.
If a friend or family member isn’t available on the day you need them, try offering to do a swap with another home caregiver that you know well. As with a babysitter for a child, you want to be sure this other caregiver is someone you can trust.
Since they’re a home caregiver too, they’ll have to bring their loved one with them. Or to make things easier, you can take your loved one to their place. Also, in exchange for them helping you, you can offer to sit with their loved one on a day when they need someone.
Use the internet to get free power of attorney forms and living will papers.
Rather than hire an attorney to draw up a power of attorney or living will papers for your elderly parent, consider printing them from the web. AARP offers links to these legal documents. Just click the state that you reside in and go from there.
Save money by purchasing discounted gift cards.
Whether you’re shopping for groceries, household supplies or taking a break from cooking, you can save a little money by purchasing discounted gift cards. Just buy the gift cards when you come across a good deal on the ones you’d use. To save even more, combine the gift card with sales and/or coupons.
Gift Card Spread and Raise offers discounted gift cards. Try to visit these sites at least once a day to look for deals on the gift cards that interest you. If you find a good deal, buy the gift card and hold on to it until your next shopping trip. Be sure to check if they have an expiration date before you buy them, though. If they do, make sure you’ll be able to use the card before it expires. If you won’t be able to use it before the expiration date, just let it go and wait for another deal.
Currently, Raise is offering new customers $5 to use toward their next purchase. To receive the free $5, you must purchase your first discounted gift card within 30 days of signing up.
Contact your local utility companies to inquire about discounts.
You may be able to save money on your utility bills by calling the companies and explaining that you’re a caregiver for your mother, father or whomever. After explaining your situation, ask if they offer any discounts for caregivers who are living with the ones they’re taking care of. If the bill is in your loved one’s name, there may be a senior discount available. If there are any discounts available, find out the qualifications. If you qualify, by all means, sign up.
Consider signing your loved one up for a free Silver Sneakers membership.
If the family member you’re caring for is still active or wants to be active to stay fit and as healthy as possible, he/she may be interested in the FREE Silver Sneakers membership. The membership will give him/her free, unlimited access to gyms and fitness centers. There are also live online classes for seniors who prefer a home workout.
Check the Silver Sneakers website for fitness locations in your area.
Save on prescription drugs.
Chances are the family member you’re caring for has quite a few medications, and maybe others in your home are also paying for medications. If Medicare, Medicaid or your other insurance company isn’t really helping with the cost of meds, GoodRx could help everyone in your household with savings of up to 80% off prescription drugs.
GoodRx is a free discounted prescription drug program. Not sure whether it would be worth it or not? Look up the costs of the medications you’d like a price on at GoodRx’s website. Just enter the name of the medication to compare prices at pharmacies near you. You may discover that you can get your medicine at a lower discounted cost than your current insurance provider offers.
Toss the disposable incontinence supplies for good.
Rather than throwing away money on disposable bed pads and briefs, invest in washable incontinence supplies. You truly can save at least $100.00 a year by buying products you can wash and reuse several times.
Three places you can consider that offer reusable incontinence products for men and women are CVS, Health Products for You, Medical Supply Depot and Walmart. To maximize your savings, be sure to read about the Health Products for You rewards program and CVS’s ExtraCare.
Make your own reusable incontinence wipes.
Before we move on to how to make the wipes, let’s discuss what you’ll do with them after you’ve used them.
You’re going to put the used incontinence wipes (the washcloths) into the trashcan (use a grocery bag as a trash bag). Later, you can pull the plastic grocery bag from the trashcan and dump the used wipes into your washer and wash them.
Store the unused wipes (washcloths) in a container.
Finally, use the empty spray bottle for the homemade peri wash, and spray the wash on the washcloth or directly onto the skin (your choice).
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own reusable incontinence wipes:
- Small (less than 13 gallons) trashcan with a lid
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon baby wash
- 1 teaspoon baby oil,
- Empty spray bottle
- Empty container, such as a plastic Folgers coffee container
- Pack of cotton washcloths
Put the aforementioned ingredients in the spray bottle, place the lid on the spray bottle, tighten it and shake well.
You can buy the supplies you need to make these homemade incontinence wipes at your local Dollar General, Dollar Tree or Walmart store, and the cost shouldn’t be much at all. To help you save more money, keep an eye out for coupons for baby wash and baby oil.
Ask for discounts before buying online.
Before making an online purchase, contact the company via phone, email or (if available) live chat. Let them know you’re a new customer interested in making a purchase from their site. Then ask them if they have a discount for first-time customers.
If the product(s) you’re planning to purchase is for caregiving, let the company know you’re a caregiver for an elderly family member, and you’re on a budget. Then ask if they could offer you a caregiver discount.
Most of the time companies will give discounts if you reach out to them, and if they don’t, then all you’ve lost is the time it took you to contact the company. It’s certainly worth trying, especially if you’re ordering in bulk. If you do plan to buy in bulk, be sure to mention the product(s) and the quantity you plan to purchase.
Sign up for a free mobile phone and wireless service.
If you don’t have a landline, you or the person you’re caring for may qualify to receive a free smartphone with free unlimited talk, text and 25 GB of data from SafeLink Wireless. This program isn’t available in all states, so enter your zipcode to check availability in your area.
Do you have any additional money-saving advice for home caregivers that you’d like to add? Please share by leaving your tips in the comments area below.