Elder Care

27 May, 2019

Many Canadians will, at some point, have to care for an aging parent.

It could be physical frailty, or it could be mental frailty with diagnoses such as Alzheimer’s becoming more common. Apart from the psychological issues of dealing with caring for your family member, there are also costs associated with getting the care they require.

Eldercare can be expensive. Private care in the home by a PSW costs about $22 an hour. If you need that care five days a week, for 12 hours a day, that comes to about $5,300 a month.

A retirement residence allows independence with support, with most providing meal plans. There is usually a small private apartment and extras can be added for a cost, such as PSW care and dispensing medications. Costs here can start at around $3200 for 1 person but climb depending on care requirements as health deteriorates and needs increase.

Nursing homes are subsidized somewhat by the government, based on income. Costs might start at around $1800 for a 4 bed shared room and go up to $2300 or more for a private room. These costs include nursing care but add-ons such as haircuts, foot care and medications are extra.

There are other costs to consider, too. Wheelchairs can run about $4,000 depending on requirements. And a home may need renovations to accommodate mobility issues.

don’t begrudge what I call the soft costs of care such as lost wages and lost productivity. These are costs that are not recognized by our government, but should be. I saw one estimate saying that in 2017, Canadians spend a total of $33 billion a year in out-of-pocket expenses and on time away from work caring for elderly parents.

While planning for elder care costs can be difficult, it is something that we all need to think about. And just as important is discussing these issues with your parents while they are still able to make their wishes known.

While we will spend what we need to when caring for an aging parent, planning is a must. Make sure you have a financial plan that will stand up to all of these financial stresses.