Managing the Cost of Caring for Elderly Parents

Understand the financial aspects of caring for senior parents. Learn how to navigate expenses while ensuring their well-being.

Retirement + Aging in Place
October 18, 2023
Managing the Cost of Caring for Elderly Parents

Updatedd Jan 31, 2024

Our parents clothe us, feed us, house us, and care for us. Eventually, the time may come that we get the chance to offer care in return. As the American population gets older and more adults require live-in, long-term care, the yoke of responsibility falls on the shoulders of younger generations. In 2020, more than 1 in 5 Americans identified as caregivers –– over 53 million people –– compared to 43 million just five years prior.1 While some of these respondents are full-time caregivers by trade, many are working adults simply trying to provide comfort and stability to someone who once did the same for them. 

Any caretaker knows this is a supremely rewarding endeavor. With that said, the cost of caring for older parents or family members can be a lot to take on. Because of this financial cost, nearly two-thirds of family caregivers reported continuing to work while providing unpaid care to a loved one, according to information gathered by AARP. If you’re caring for an older adult parent or expect to assume this responsibility soon, discover advice on how to manage these costs –– while cultivating the most comfortable environment possible. 

Assessing Senior Care Costs

Caring for aging parents is a noble undertaking that can come at a cost. The first step to effectively manage the cost of caring for a loved one should be to assess and understand the full extent of the expenses involved. 

In doing so, you will want to decide whether your older parent will receive adequate companion care in the comfort of their home (or yours) or if they might need a higher degree of care –– the kind that might require an assisted living facility or nursing home. Particularly when family members are the ones providing it, the costs of in-home care can be marginally lower than those found at an assisted living facility. Although in-home care can allow for personalized, one-on-one attention at a reduced rate, caregiver costs, medical equipment, and aging-in-place home modifications can quickly erode any potential savings without proper planning. However, assisted living facilities carry an average monthly cost of $4,500 compared to in-home care’s $3,800, making in-home care a less costly option.2 

Medical expenses are another substantial piece of the senior care picture, as the healthcare needs of senior parents can be expansive –– though they might not start out that way. Over time, our health needs change, and aging parents may require more frequent doctor visits, increased dosages of medications, and specialized health care. This can turn a minor, infrequent cost into a recurring expense, and when managing the cost of caring for older parents, you should factor this likely change into your budget. 

Preparing for the Financial Responsibility

Should you decide to provide care to a senior parent, family member, or loved one yourself, you’ll need to consider how this arrangement will coincide with your work life. The job of a caregiver seldom has a set schedule, and caring for a senior parent may mean taking time off work, limiting your working hours, or potentially leaving your job altogether to become a full-time caregiver. Carefully consider the impact this decision may have on your income and long-term financial stability to ensure you can continue to provide quality care to your loved one. 

To help prepare, you’ll want to assess the costs associated with planning for senior care. This process can involve legal aspects and may require you to analyze your parent’s insurance policies. Whether you’re creating or updating a will or exploring long-term care insurance, you’ll want to invest in the support of a financial expert to ensure your parent’s (and your) best interests are protected.

Costs aside, caring for an older parent comes with myriad benefits –– including the opportunity to convey your deep appreciation for someone who has given so much to you. Living with senior parents also allows you to spend some invaluable one-on-one time with them and forge new, lasting memories. By understanding your responsibilities and planning ahead for these costs, you can spend more time enjoying the care journey and strengthening your relationship. 

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Financial Assistance and Resources

Caretakers looking after older parents aren’t in it alone. Fortunately, there are numerous options for ongoing support and financial assistance that can help you alleviate some of the pressure of this role –– from federal programs to nonprofits. 

Government Programs

There are various federal and state government-sponsored programs designed to provide and support senior care. If you provide care services to a senior parent directly, state Medicaid can help you get paid to be a caregiver, offsetting some of your costs.3 The Older Americans Act, too, provides services like meals, transportation, and even mental health support to enhance the well-being of seniors. 

Veteran Benefits

If the parent under your care is a veteran, or is the spouse of a veteran, they may qualify for Veteran Affairs (VA) benefits. These are federal benefits designed to improve the quality of care given to aging veterans, including caregiver education, financial assistance when traveling to receive care, a monthly stipend, and 30+ days/year of respite care –– providing temporary relief to dedicated caregivers.4

Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance is a paid program, much like auto or home insurance, and if your parents have these policies in place, you may find the cost of caring for senior parents to be greatly reduced. Policies vary, however, so be sure to investigate the terms of your parent’s policy to understand the full financial impact this care insurance will have. 

Employee Benefits

Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), most employers must provide 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a loved one –– but depending on your employer and benefits package, you may receive pay for this time (or be eligible for even greater flexibility.) Check with your employer to see if your company offers any caregiving-related benefits or programs, be they as simple as a more flexible work arrangement or as involved as an employee assistance program.

Nonprofit Organizations

Depending on where your aging parent lives, there are countless nonprofits geared toward elder care ready to help make your life easier and your older parent’s life better. The Ohio-based Elderly Advocates is “dedicated to seeing our aging population thrive to the best of their ability,” relying on volunteers to help caregivers and families carry the load. And in Missouri, the St. Louis Area Agency on Aging (SLAA) has compiled a comprehensive list of community-based services geared toward older adults. These nonprofits are just two examples of many; explore options in your area, and you’ll likely find someone is providing the support you need. 

Support Groups

Many of the above options are designed to lessen the financial cost of caring for older parents, but a support group can help you mitigate the emotional cost. In a community of like-minded caregivers in situations like yours, you’ll find solace, support, camaraderie, and hope –– valuable tools as you look to provide your loved one with the best care possible while caring for yourself. 

Through monthly stipends and caregiver support, state, federal, non-profit, and community programs can help you manage the cost of caring for aging parents. When embarking on this journey, explore the options in your area to ensure you are supported in the best way possible.  

Planning for Long-Term Care

Understanding the costs involved in caring for senior parents and some of the resources available to you, you can begin developing a thought-out plan for long-term care with your parent. This thorough process will help you ensure your parent’s needs are being met, and that your financial limitations are established, allowing you to make any necessary adjustments before embarking on your caregiving journey. 

Start Your Planning Early

Although your parent may not require immediate long-term care, you’ll find that the sooner you begin planning for this care, the more resources, options, and support you will have available. This early planning will also allow you to have open and honest discussions with your loved one(s) about their housing, care preferences, and finances. Talking about aging ensures you honor their wishes while building out the remainder of your plan together.

Create a Comprehensive Budget

With a clear idea of your parent’s preferences and a composite of their finances, you should develop a detailed budget outlining all potential costs. This will include things like daily professional care, routine medical expenses, expected home modifications, factoring in additional expenses as your parent ages. Having this budget in hand, you can go confidently into your exploration of your various care options. 

Explore Your Care Options 

We’ve discussed assisted living and in-home care, but there are a number of other ways to ensure your parent is properly cared for. Consider if living with older parents is a viable option, or if you want to seek an assisted living facility. During your planning, you’ll want to understand the available home care options (and their associated costs) and whittle down the list according to your established financial limitations. Ultimately, you can discuss this refined list of options with your parent, considering their needs and preferences. 

Seek Professional Advice

Legal and financial planning are each valuable components of a long-term care plan, and it’s essential to consult with elder care experts to ensure there will be no hitches on this journey. In more complex cases, you may also want to consult with care professionals –– as they can help you navigate complicated senior healthcare systems with poise. 

Monitor and Adjust as Needed

Your completed caregiving plan will act as your roadmap, helping you manage the cost of caring for senior parents, but it’s not set in stone. As your parent’s condition changes or your own financial situation evolves, you may need to modify your budget and explore alternative care arrangements, such as older parents moving in

Cover Senior Care Costs with Home Equity

To the uninitiated, caring for senior parents can be a daunting undertaking. It can be expensive, emotionally taxing, and rife with uncertainty: a recipe for elevated anxiety levels. But caring for older parents is also a way to show your deep love and appreciation while making these years as comfortable, secure, and dignified as possible for them. There are countless resources and strategies at your disposal, all designed to help you effectively manage the cost of caring for senior parents. For good measure, we’d like to tell you about one more. 

Truehold’s sale-leaseback allows homeowners to tap into valuable home equity, using this resource however they see fit. For aging adults, it can be a great way to cover an ever-expanding list of care costs while continuing to live in a comfortable environment. Through our sale-leaseback, your parent can sell their home in exchange for home equity, then continue to live in their cherished home while paying rent. This frees up potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars to be applied toward the best possible care for your parent, empowering you to care for and spend quality time with them.  

When looking for ways to manage the cost of caring for senior parents, Truehold’s sale-leaseback may be the solution you’ve been searching for. Learn about our sale-leaseback, then see if it’s the right fit by reaching out to one of our trusted advisors. 


1. AARP. Caregiving in the United States 2020  

2. Assisted Living vs Home Care. 

3. USAGov. Get paid as a caregiver for a family member. 

4. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. The Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. 

Róisín Goebelbecker headshot
Written by
Róisín Goebelbecker
Brand Lead at Truehold
Róisín Goebelbecker leverages her background in social impact storytelling, community engagement, and social services to elevate residents’ stories and advocate for the dignity and agency of older adults.
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Truehold's blog is committed to delivering timely and pertinent insights in real estate and finance, purely for educational and informational purposes. Crafted by experts, our content is thoroughly reviewed to guarantee its accuracy and dependability. Although designed to enlighten and engage, our articles are not intended as financial advice and should not be the sole basis for financial decisions. Our stringent editorial practices ensure the integrity of our content, empowering our readers with valuable knowledge.

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