It’s a role more and more adults will play at some point: serving as caregivers to their aging parents. According to a study by Northwestern Mutual Insurance, nearly 40% of Americans surveyed say they are, or have been, a caregiver to someone with health concerns or special needs, not including children. And as we live longer, that statistic seems likely to increase.
Many books and articles have analyzed the emotional costs of caring for one’s aging parents. But as a recent article on the U.S. News and World Report website points out, there’s an unexpectedly high financial cost as well. Click here to read the article.
Many adults who do make plans for their own financial futures fail to take into account the hard cost of caring for Mom or Dad as they get older. The article states that about one-third of caregivers say they spend roughly one-fourth of their income taking care of a parent or aging loved one. One of the biggest unanticipated costs: round the clock care. Families may quickly find the needs of their loved one outstrip their availability and their expertise, and that can be when the crisis develops.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. The article makes the same argument we’ve been making in our LifePlanning seminars and on the radio for years: “Whatever you do, when it comes to protecting your parents’ assets, you can’t wait until the last minute.” The article recommends talking with an elder law specialist who is well versed in all aspects of the legal, financial and medical aspects of aging. That describes Aging Options to a “t.”
There are other helpful tips and considerations in this article, including several specific costs you may never have considered. The bottom line, however, is that serving as a caregiver is a choice, but one that comes with both an emotional and a financial price tag. This is one reason we strongly recommend you and your family should all be part of the retirement conversation early on. Here at our practice we frequently conduct family consultations that get all the issues and expectations out in the open. It’s hard to describe the difference that can make in a family’s peace of mind and sense of cooperation.
If you’re eager to learn more, why not attend one of our upcoming LifePlanning seminars? There’s no cost, and it’s a terrific way to gain insight into all aspects of retirement planning: family issues, financial concerns, health care options, housing choices and legal obligations. Click on the Upcoming Events tab for dates, times and locations.
(originally reported at www.usnwr.com)