Caregivers & Taxes!
March 18, 2013
By CareNovate Team Contritbutor
Tax time is almost here, April 15th to be exact. As more adults and boomers take on caregiving responsibilities for their aging relatives, it’s important to plan ahead.
Below, we share some tax tips published recently by IRS, AARP & Bankrate that could help save family caregivers some money, stress and time. As always, always consult a tax adviser, CPA or accountant for information specific to your situation.
Family caregiver might benefit in 3 ways:
You might qualify for the Child and Dependent Care Credit.
You might be able to claim your loved one as a dependent, reducing your taxable income by $3,700.
You might qualify for a deduction for money you spent on your loved one’s medical expenses and care.
Caregiver tax deductions IS NOT limited to just relatives. Non-relatives could also qualify but only if they are part of the caregiver’s household for the entire tax year.
KEEP ALL YOUR RECEIPTS because some dependent expenses that are deductible includes cost of: food, housing, medical care, clothing, transportation and even bathroom modifications all qualify for tax deductions.
The IRS allows caregivers to deduct the costs not covered by a health care plan for a relative’s hospitalization or for out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, dental care, copays, deductibles, ambulances, bandages, eyeglasses and certain long-term care services and more.
If a caregiver works but pays for care for a relative who can’t be left alone, those costs may also be tax-deductible.
Caregiver’s tax-free flex account may be used to cover expenses for both dependent and independent relatives — as long as you’re responsible for at least 50 percent of their support.
As always, always consult a tax adviser, CPA or accountant for information specific to your situation.
For more information & tips for caregivers, visit
IRS – For Caregivers
IRS – Caregivers & Medical Expenses Q&A
The “Dammit” Moment.
This is just a short little post about leaving the hospital…
We (Mom and I) haven’t had to be an inpatient so far this year (knock on wood) but I’ve always wanted to share this little nugget.
When you have a hospital stay, depending on why you or the care receiver is there, you’ll usually wind up getting a lot of supplies in your room. Lots of times, when it comes time to be discharged, you’re anxious, ready to go…and just want to get the heck out of there. Even though the hospital will sometimes provide you with a big plastic bag to put your personal items in, usually it’s not big enough to get everything in it that you brought in with you or have accumulated during your stay. Since it’s a trait of most Caregivers to not want to trouble others, we’ll usually not ask for extra bags…and we’ll feel that the extra supplies that are left in the room could be given to the next patient; someone less fortunate.
Get over it!
Ask, Ask . ASK! Ask for the bags, as many as you can carry and take al that you can that’s allowed in your room with you!!!!
One of our biggest hurdles as Caregivers is not asking for what we want, asking for a little help. I think it’s in the soul contract or the DNA of Caregivers or somewhere in a hidden, unwritten but very real code book for Caregivers to not open up their mouths and ask for stuff sometimes. This issue ( the hospital stay and disposable items left behind in the room in particular) has really become a ‘nit’ for me. Ask for them. You or whoever is going to pay the bill have already PAID for them. In most cases, they cannot or won’t be returned to the hospital’s inventory. The employees are generally not allowed to take them home – hospital policy, blah, blah, blah – and they’re usually not allowed to take them (on an individual basis) to give the to someone less fortunate.
Such a pity, such a waste….
Plus, every time, everytime, every single time, later, when we have returned to the sanctity and security of our homes, not once, not twice, but EVERY TIME we, Caregivers , have that “Dammit” moment.
What’s that you say?
It’s when you get home and you haven’t been able to go to the store yet because you came straight home from the hospital, trying to get yourself and/or the care receiver into the house, the bed, trying to get back on track with the ADL schedule, the med schedule , the sleep schedule …. And then there’s that “ thing” that was back in the hospital room, that the nurses and the aides told you to take with you , but you politely told them ‘no’ – and now – You NEED it.
You need the gauze, the chucks, the pads, the big water cup, the ointment ,the bandages, the steri – strips, the incontinence care products, the wipes, the tubes, the inhalers, the scissors, the this ,that and the other…you need them now – RIGHT NOW and you had them all , at the ready while you were in the hospital, but, now…
…you’re cursing yourself and at yourself, because you can see them, all of these things, very clearly, back in the room you just left!!!
Alright, soooooo next time, don’t be shy, don’t be proud – scoop up and take the items you want. Count your blessings or gifts and walk / roll ‘proudly’ out of the hospital. Be happy that you’re getting out of there but don’t be stupid about it, ok? If you need some way to justify all of this to yourself so that you won’t feel bad when you cross the threshold of the hospital exit, back out to the outside world, keep the little scenario I just described above in mind as well as this little saying:
“Better to have something and not need it, than to need something and not have it!”
I’m speaking at the Georgia Gerontology Society Annual Conference this August. Yeah! If you’re in the vicinity August 13 and 14th, drop by!
“””July 2, 2012
Dynamic Speakers Announced for Conference
Happy 4th of July!
Two additional speakers will be joining us at our 57th annual conference “Enjoying the High Tides of Life: Sailing the Waves to Dynamic Aging” on August 13-15, 2012 at the Sea Palms Resort in St. Simon’s.
Dr. Sybil Ingram, a respected and experienced professional in the areas of health care information systems and regulatory compliance issues, will be our opening speaker on Monday, August 13 with her topic: “Providing Empowerment with Integrity!” Dr. Sybil will also be presenting 2 other breakout sessions at the conference.
Sonny Dixon, anchor of WTOC’s new and innovative broadcast, THE News NOW at 4 PM in addition to newscasts he has anchored for many years, THE News at Five and THE News at Six, will be our luncheon speaker on Tuesday, August 14.
The Conference Tracks and Sessions are now available for viewing on the GGS annual conference page of our website: www.georgiagerontologysociety.org/conference Click on the spreadsheet to view the sessions and speakers. Thirty five breakout sessions are being offered at this year’s conference under the following tracks (tides): Business and Economics Tide; Aging and Disability Resources Tide; Healthy Lifestyles and Active Engagement Tide; Families, Grandparents and Caregiving Tide; and Safe Communities Tide.
Please note that this is a preliminary schedule subject to change, but it will give you an idea of the fantastic sessions that are in store for you when you attend our upcoming GGS annual conference.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan will be our Keynote Speaker at the opening session. The GBI was featured recently in an article in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution about the maltreatment of at-risk adults by personal care home operators. Here’s the link to the article: http://www.ajc.com/news/perils-in-personal-care-1434087.html
Diana Scully, Senior Director of State Services with the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD), Sandy Markwood, CEO of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A) and Kevin Monroe, Managing Partner with X Factor Consulting will be the panelists for an opening day general session on Sustainability of the Aging Network: Challenges and Opportunities.
For information on attendee registration, exhibiting, sponsoring or advertising visit www.georgiagerontologysociety.org/conference You will also find information on making your reservation at Sea Palms on this page. Please note that the Early Bird rate for the conference is available until July 14 for ALL GGS members–individual members as well as staff of organizational members.
Please feel free to forward this update to your friends and colleagues.
We look forward to seeing you at the conference!
Matthew Malok, CMP
Georgia Gerontology Society
One of my friends ( Dr. Daphne) sent this to me today and I felt it would be an appropriate share for The Samurai Caregiver site. Being happy usually is not synonymous with being a caregiver. Its so very important for us to remember that it is a choice; choosing to be happy.
If you’ve read “The Traveler’s Gift” y Andy Andrews, you’ll immediately recognize this as being one of “The Seven Decisions” he so eloquently discusses in this wonderfully told and expressed story.
92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with his hair fashionably combed and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.
His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiledsweetly when told his room was ready.
As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.
I love it,’ he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.
Mr. Jones, you haven’t seen the room; just wait.’
‘That doesn’t have anything to do with it,’ he replied.
Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time.
Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged .. it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it.
‘It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice;
I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with theparts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do..
Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away.. Just for this time in my life..
Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you’ve put in.
So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bankaccount of memories!
Thank you for your part in filling my Memory Bank.
I am still depositing.
‘Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
1.. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.
Have a nice day, unless you already have other plans.
One of my friends sent this to me today and I wanted to pass it on. I don’t know the original author but feel the same way as described towards the end about friends – and caregivers worldwide.
“An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck.
One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.
At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.
‘I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.’
The old woman smiled, ‘Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.’
Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it’s the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You’ve just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.
SO, to all of my cracked pot friends and Caregivers worldwide, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!”