In a recent article by Kelli B. Grant at CNBC, an estimated 43.5 million American adults work as unpaid caregivers; most are age 50 and above.
It used to be that large families pulled together resources to care for parents and grandparents, but with today’s smaller families, the care is spread among fewer children. Yes, we face a situation today of fewer caregivers for a growing population of the elderly!
$5,500 is the average out of pocket expense for caregivers, but a TD Ameritrade survey puts the annual support figure closer to $13,000 to help mom and $8,500 for dad.
Caregivers are dipping into their savings, adding to their debt and delaying retirement. In addition, many have had to quit jobs, or cut back on hours. They not only worry about their own finances, they struggle with depression, fatigue, and care-induced health issues such as back pain.
Ideally, family members should plan ahead of time to work out each person’s role and responsibility, so when the time comes for assistance, each person assumes their assigned duties with knowledge and a smooth transition can occur.
Fidelity.com says five key questions need to be addressed by families.
- Who will be the financial caregiver?
- Who can handle the day-to-day needs?
- What are the housing options?
- How will we communicate as a family?
- How will we navigate the eventuality of death?
The Lord commanded us to honor our father and mother. And, He will give us the strength we need to lovingly serve them till the end.
By preparing now, we can be a blessing not only to our parents but to our children and grandchildren!