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Monday, April 28, 2008

Caregiving Impacted By Gasoline Prices - $4.09/Gallon Some Places

Today, April 28, 2008, the local gas prices in my area are $4.09, $3.93 and $3.79 per gallon. That's about $20 for 5 gallons of gas, or $40 just for 10 gallons. At Gas Buddy caregivers can search for the lowest gas prices before filling up the tank, but gas prices impact the caregiving life in many ways. Family caregivers seek medical providers close to home for their loved ones in order to save on gas, but sometimes driving a long distance for specialized care is a necessity. For those who live in rural areas, and who are living on a tight budget, paying for gasoline can mean not having money for other basic necessities such as medical copays, medicine and food.

Caregiver agencies strive to schedule their paid caregivers close to home, avoiding the costs of commuting to clients homes. Seniors who live outside of town, in the rural areas, face high commuting costs to medical providers and high costs of reimbursing paid caregivers for care and gasoline.

Multi-faceted problems faced by those who need caregivers or who work as caregivers are further complicated by gas prices that require $20 for just 5 gallons of gas. Filling up the tank for $40, $50 or more can cause a serious hardship. Choosing between gasoline and other necessities is yet another challenge for those involved in the caregiving life.


Carol D. O'Dell said...

I agree--gas pricing and the changing economy will hit caregivers hard. They still have to go to doctor's appointments and get meds, so some things aren't optional.

The economy will also effect community resources such as elder transportation, adult and respite care, and other funding.

The "up side" is that multi-generational families may become the norm. Families need each other and combining households, incomes, and abilities to care for each other can be a blessing in disguise.

Scary to say, but soaring gas prices may be just the beginning of a bumpy ride.

~Carol D. O'Dell
Author of Mothering Mother: A Daughter's Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir,
available on Amazon

Kristi Marie Gott said...

Thank you Carol for your comment. You brought up a good point. Maybe multi-generational family settings will become more common if people try to work together to face these challenges. Take care and best wishes, Kristi

Linda said...

My aging parents trying to stay independent drove my father to the hospital because they thought he was having a heart attack. The went to the closest hospital due to gas price and they could have ended up paying the whole bill if the insurance company had not allowed the costs. Needless to say, they should have just called 911 but they don't like to ask for help. It was a two edged sword; the closer hospital may have saved his life. The one they were covered at was one of the best in the country. Much of the decision was based on gas price.

It would be nice if caring multi-generational families became the norm. But if they are only created because of tight money, the natural caregivers will be taken advantage of and worn out taking care of those who don't make good financial decisions.

Kristi Marie Gott said...

Dear Linda,
Thank you for your comment. It is so true that high gas prices are causing people to make difficult choices with healthcare, sometimes in life and death situations. Take care and best wishes, Kristi