The Moneyist: ‘Love yourself and protect yourself’: I care for my mother, 90, and husband, 73. He contributes nothing. I work and pay all the bills. What hope do I have?

Dear Quentin,

I am 65 and had long hoped for early retirement, yet I am still working.

I have my 90-year-old mother with no income under my care, and my 73-year-old husband, who is retired. I never see a penny of his retirement income. He used to work as a home inspector, but he stopped working in 2018 because he couldn’t pass the state test after six attempts. He used to help with utilities, but does so no more.

“‘You stepped up to help your mother. That’s an honorable act.’”

That report highlights the physical, emotional and financial strain experienced by many caregivers. “For caregivers, positive emotions often coexist with feelings of isolation, stress, or strain,” it says. “Half of caregivers of adults ages 50 or older feel their role as a caregiver gives them a sense of purpose or meaning in life.” All of this was exacerbated by the pandemic.

There are options to become a paid caregiver, and you should see if any of them apply to you. Medicaid offers long-term care coverage for people on low incomes. The Older Americans Act of 1965 is designed to help people aged 60 and older with health issues who don’t qualify for Medicaid, but require financial assistance, including home-delivered meals and transportation.

Medicaid Self-Directed Services is the Medicaid program that aims to compensate family caregivers. It was created for people who are over 60, like yourself, and who need help at home and are leading the caregiving process. These apply to people looking after parents, but most of this financial aid does not apply to husbands/wives or legal guardians.

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