Different types of costs you may incur while caring for your ageing parents.

5 Expenses you may have to incur for your parents in their old age

Life expectancy in India is currently close to 70 years and is progressively increasing. It is estimated that there will be 20 crore senior citizens (60 years and above) by 2030 in our country. According to a national survey, 5% of respondents claimed they have no one to look after them. Almost 68% of respondents don’t receive any pension and 38% of respondents don’t stay with their children.

It is likely that your family may comprise seniors who are already receiving care or are likely to need care in a few years. If you belong to a family where the latter is true, you still have time to plan for their care-related expenses. Caring for ageing parents goes much beyond looking after their healthcare needs. 

There are various aspects that you would need to consider while caring for your parents. Here’s a list of some things for which you may need to save up.

1. Caregiver or nurse

Caring for an ageing parent is easier said than done. The act of hiring an outsider to care for ageing parents is likely to be looked upon unfavourably by large sections of Indian society. Typically, children are considered to care for their ageing parents. However, with demanding work schedules and double-income families, this may not be possible. 

Caring for ageing parents is easier said than done. It could also take a huge emotional toll on the person offering care and relations could break down. Therefore, it might become essential to hire a caregiver or a nurse to care for your ageing parents, even if your spouse or you stay at home. A professional caregiver would be able to offer better assistance to your ageing parents.

Pro tip: The average caregiver’s salary in India will be around Rs 20,000 per month. This could either be entirely paid from the interest income received from your parent’s corpus or you may also have to chip in.

Related: Budgeting basics: Moving out of your parents' home

2. Retirement needs

Retirement doesn’t mean the absence of needs. Once in a while, your ageing parents may express certain wishes such as travelling to attend a wedding in the immediate or extended family, wanting to provide gifts to certain family members or friends on special occasions, meet old friends, etc.

Pro tip: Expenses for gifts or meeting friends could be handled by the interest income your parents might be receiving from their savings. However, you may have to chip in when it comes to travelling as your parents might require a family member or a caregiver to travel with them. On an average, you can expect these expenses to range from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 – or even more – per year.

3. Medical exigencies

As your parents become older, they would not only require medicines regularly but may also need to be hospitalised for age-related ailments. The cost of hospitalisation in India is rising at a rate (15%) that is double the rate of inflation (6%–7%).

Pro tip: Purchase a health insurance policy as soon as possible for your parent. There are health insurance plans available for senior citizens as well. These health insurance plans would cover hospitalisation expenses that may be incurred in the future. 

Premiums for health insurance plans offering a cover of Rs 5 lakh for an individual who is 65 years begin from Rs 21,240 onwards.

4. Assisted living centres

If it is difficult for your ageing parents to live with you or if you live in an area that isn’t suitable for seniors, you may have to get them to stay at a senior living centre. These have in-house wellness, medical, and recreational facilities for seniors.

Pro tip: These may cost anywhere between Rs 15,000 per month to a few lakhs per month. Among all the other expenses listed here, this is likely to be the biggest recurring expense. Therefore, it is important to plan in advance (preferably 5-8 years).

5. Remodelling expenses

While estimating expenses to care for ageing parents, one often doesn’t account for remodelling expenses. Some of the things one may have to do include special doorknobs, install a wheelchair ramp or a chair lift, place grab bars in bathrooms etc.

Pro tip: Remodelling expenses would depend on what you wish to do. Heavy duty expenses such as installing a chair lift could cost a few lakhs whereas changing door knobs or adding grab bars may cost a few thousand rupees. You should be able to manage these expenses easily, either from your savings or the retirement corpus of your parents. Alternatively, you can even take a loan.

While accounting for these expenses, it is important to factor in a couple of scenarios. One concerns the number of parents you have, and the other is about parents who have remained at home for a significant part of their lives.

  • Number of parents: Your expenses would depend on the number of parents you have to care for. This may range from one to four (including parents of your spouse). Apart from this, the financial health of your parents may also come into the picture. One set of parents might be financially healthy as compared to another set of parents.
  • Stay-at-home parent: It is likely that if one of your parents has been a stay-at-home parent, they would be financially dependent on your other parent, your siblings (if any), and you. This parent would not be able to sustain themselves without external assistance.

Related: How to support your parents financially without burdening yourself or your spouse

Pro tip: In both cases, if you aren’t aware of the financial health of your parents, remember to broach the topic tactfully. It is important to exercise patience and empathy as certain parents might not be open to discussing their financial status. Alternatively, you could create an expense sheet and check with them about the portion of expenses that they can handle. The rest can be split between you and other parties such as your siblings or spouse.

Last words

If your parents are in their fifties or early sixties, you still have time to create a corpus that would be helpful during their retirement years. It is important to discuss these scenarios by involving the whole family – parents, siblings, and spouses. Once there is clarity about the financial situation of your parents, it will be easier to plan for these future expenses.