Manage Your Money While Helping Your Aging Parents

elderly mother and daughter discussing finances

Being a caregiver to an aging or ill parent either physically, financially, or both, is a compassionate choice that involves immediate and long-term financial planning.

It is important to understand all the expenses involved and what you can afford. Follow these tips to help trim expenses and keep your income while helping your parents at the same time.

  • Make a budget. Help your parents list their living and medical expenses. Determine how much your parents, you, and/or siblings will contribute financially. If you live away from your parents consider travel expenses and time off work. Incorporate these caregiving expenses into your personal budget.
  • Cut costs. Review expenses with your parents and see if there are ways you can help cut costs. Start by researching and taking advantage of all available public benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and state prescription drug assistance programs for income-eligible seniors. The website can help you find programs that pay some of the costs of prescription drugs, health care, utilities, and other essentials.
  • Plan for long-term expenses. Three “big-ticket” financial issues related to long-term care of an aging parent are: a parent moving in with an adult child, moving a parent into an assisted living facility, and assisting a parent financially. Discuss the financial pros and cons of each of these options with your parent, partner and each of your siblings and develop a plan.
  • Keep Your Income. Working caregivers can leave a parent at an adult day center during working hours. A good place to inquire about day centers and other services is a city or county Office on Aging. To find the office located near an aging parent, contact the Eldercare Location Service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at
  • Consider hiring help. For long-distance caregivers who live far from a parent needing assistance, hiring a local geriatric care manager to organize a parent’s care and apply for community resources can be a cost-effective option. To locate a geriatric care manager, visit
  • Lower your tax bill. Doing the bulk of the caregiving for a parent and providing for them financially? You may be able to list your parent as a dependent on your tax return. For more information, see IRS Publication 501.