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Caring for a Stroke Survivor’s Finances

Caregiver balancing the monthly budget.

Caring for a loved one after a stroke has emotional, physical and spiritual implications. Enormous amounts of responsibilities are shifted to the caregiver, one of those tasks typically being management of personal finances. This can be one of the most difficult things for a stroke survivor to relinquish, as they have developed their own financial credibility and system over the years on their life. Here, we’ll discuss techniques for taking over another individual's financial responsibilities and managing a balanced budget.

Assuming the Responsibility of Another’s Finances

It is important that trust and communication exist between the caregiver and the stroke survivor while reallocating financial responsibility. A stroke survivor can feel that relinquishing their finances implies a loss of individuality and mature responsibility. It can be extremely uncomfortable and a strain on the survivor if the caregiver immediately takes charge of the finances. It should be slow and mutual transfer of responsibility. 

Before a caregiver can take any part in the money management, it’s important that the caregiver’s name be added to all relevant personal accounts. Or, caregivers can be given the Power of Attorney, which enables them to sign personal checks and handle the survivor’s assets.

Keeping a Balanced Monthly Budget

A severe medical emergency, like a stroke, results in extraordinary financial burdens. On top of the typical monthly expenses, there’s now the additional burden of hefty medical bills, equipment, medications, and additional care services, if necessary.

As a caregiver, having a tightly managed financial budget can help reduce stress. Even if your budget balances in the red, it’s at least important to understand exactly how much of a deficit is being created on a monthly basis.

The Components of a Typical Monthly Budget

The main components of an organized budget are income, basic living expenses, and medical expenses. Your medical expenses are tax deductable, so having them organized in a monthly budget will ultimately help you receive your maximum refund, come tax time.

Create a spreadsheet with each of the relevant categories for your personalized budget. Create a template, then each month track your expenses and income.

Income

  • Wages
  • Pensions
  • Social Security
  • Annuity Income
  • Interest and dividend income
  • Refunds are commonly State or Federal Tax refunds

Basic Living Expenses

  • Rent or mortgage payments
  • Utilities : electricity, gas/oil, water and sewer bills
  • Cable, telephone and internet
  • Real Estate taxes*
  • Auto excise tax*
  • Quarterly Estimated State or Federal Taxes (if required) *
  • Car payments and repairs
  • Car insurance
  • Life insurance – if not paid by employer

* Often reduced if more than 65 years of age

Medical Expenses - Tax Deductible

  • Health insurance
    • Medicare
    • Supplemental  Insurance
    • Co-payments for medications or doctor’s appointments
    • Co-payments for medical procedures/hospitalization
  • Doctors, specialist, physical therapists and visiting nurses (Medicare will pay for 2 hours of health care assistence with a doctor’s orders.)
  • Hospital ( depending on your Medicare A or B)
  • Medications (% paid by Medicare or co-pay)
  • Medical Supplies (Including mobility equipment, adaptive equipment for home care, etc.)

By: Carol M. Maloney, Stroke survivor, former teacher, and adolescent literacy specialist

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"A severe medical emergency, like a stroke, results in extraordinary financial burdens. On top of the typical monthly expenses, there’s now the additional burden of hefty medical bills, equipment, medications, and additional care services, if necessary."

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