According to a study from A Place for Mom, 28 percent of Americans are either already caring for their elderly parents or will need to at some point in the future. However, the same study found that 86 percent of Americans are worried they won’t have the financial stability to do so.1
Americans are living longer than ever. Those extended life spans are a double-edged sword. On one hand, living longer is a positive development, as it gives you more time to spend with loved ones. On the other hand, a long life span can lead to increased need for care and support in your later years as you deal with declining health.
Many baby boomers are finding that their retirement isn’t spent at the beach or on the golf course; rather, it’s spent providing care for an elderly parent. The role of care provider can be challenging. You may feel an obligation to take care of your parent. However, you also may not have the time, energy or financial resources to do so.
If you’ve been thrust into the role of caregiver, the good news is there are strategies available to lighten your burden. Below are three tips to help you take care of your parent, but also protect yourself and your financial stability:
Take help when it’s available.
Some caregivers feel it’s their duty to manage every aspect of their parent’s care. They may feel protective of their parent, or they may feel guilt for leaving the responsibility to someone else.
Providing care for someone with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or some other serious issue is often a round-the-clock job. It’s natural and understandable that one person may not be able to handle it all. If you take on too much responsibility, you could threaten your career, your health or your relationships with your family.
Look for opportunities for help and support. Ask other relatives to pitch in any way they can. Look into community services such as adult day care or volunteer caregivers. Some churches and community groups offer programs for elders.
Your parent may also qualify for additional benefits through the government, former employers or insurance policies. For example, veterans are often entitled to increased benefit payouts if they need care either in the home or in a facility. Be sure to explore all options.
Take care of your health.
Your parent is already suffering a serious medical issue. The last thing you or they need is for you to suffer health problems, too. If you suffer health problems, you may not be able to care for your parent, and they may be forced to turn to alternatives. You could also face your own medical bills, which could threaten your financial stability.
Be sure to give yourself opportunities to relax and recover. Work exercise into your schedule when you can. Stay in touch with friends and other family members. Continue doing fun activities so you can get a mental break and relieve stress. Your health is perhaps the most important asset you have as you care for your parent.
Don’t forget about your financial future.
In caregiving situations, there’s often a tendency to focus only on the challenge at hand without regard for the future. While that tendency is understandable, it’s important that you keep your future and financial stability in mind as you help your parent make decisions.
For example, you may be faced with a choice between putting your parent in a facility or providing care yourself, but at the expense of your career. Providing care could limit your ability to save and may strain your budget.
There’s no right answer in these situations. However, be sure to include your future needs in your decision-making. After all, if you sacrifice your financial stability today to care for your parent, you could become dependent on your children in the future. You likely don’t want them to face the same challenges you currently face.
Ready to develop a plan for your new role as caregiver? Let’s talk about it. Contact us at TB Financial. We can help you develop a strategy to protect yourself and your retirement. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.
Licensed Insurance Professional. This information is designed to provide a general overview with regard to the subject matter covered and is not state specific. The authors, publisher and host are not providing legal, accounting or specific advice for your situation. By providing your information, you give consent to be contacted about the possible sale of an insurance or annuity product. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting insurance professional. The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change at any time. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, presenting insurance professional makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice.
16830 – 2017/7/17