Plan for the Costs of Caring for an Aging Loved One

The number of people caring for an elderly parent or other relative is growing fast. A recent Pew Research Center study found that almost 40 percent of Americans are caring for another person with a serious health condition, a rise from 30 percent in 2010.

Providing care for a loved one may be necessary, but it is important to understand the impact that it has on the caregiver’s financial situation and even his or her own health. Studies have shown that caregivers are more likely to report issues with their own health. Focusing on caring for another can take time away from caring for oneself.

Providing care can also have a significant financial impact. Many people take unpaid leave from work to care for an older family member. In addition to the obvious loss of wages, this can also affect the caregiver’s own Social Security retirement benefits.

Careful planning can make these impacts much more manageable. Too many people are taken by surprise by circumstances, and in the rush to provide necessary care, may make choices regarding work, home and care that are not well thought out. Thinking about what may be necessary in certain possible future situations and planning ahead can help you make the right decisions when they need to be made.

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