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Financial Plan Can Benefit Family Caregivers

There may be options that could keep your daughter from giving up her career. If you have other family members, discuss with them how they might help.

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Caregiving can be a burden for family caregivers. There are resources, such as your local Home Instead®, that can help alleviate the strain. Home Instead CAREGiversSM provide the kind of respite that could keep many family caregivers working while caring for their aging loved ones.

Q. I’m an 83-year-old widow with health problems, so my daughter has been caring for me after work and during the evenings. Now she’s talking about quitting her job and I’m worried. Her family needs her income and I fear this will put a strain on her budget. I have some money saved up to help out, but not a lot. What resources could you give us?

Here’s valuable information that may help. The resource, "Financial Steps for Caregivers: What you need to know about money and retirement,” is a booklet prepared under a grant from the Administration on Aging and distributed in partnership with the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a). For more information, go to

Refer your daughter to this resource, which will provide valuable information to help her and your family make decisions about the best way to proceed. According to the booklet, caregiving often results in financial costs for the caregiver, some of which include decisions to work part-time, decline a promotion requiring longer hours, or pass up a training opportunity requiring travel.

Other more subtle consequences include lost opportunities for compounded returns on 401(k) matching contributions, a reduction in savings and investments, or an inability to finance home improvements that could increase the resale value of a residence. One study from the National Center on Women & Aging found that caregivers lose $659,130 over a lifetime in reduced salary and retirement benefits.

There may be options that could keep your daughter from giving up her career. If you have other family members, discuss with them how they might help. Oftentimes the caregiving job falls to one adult child when others could shoulder some of the responsibility.

Also consider an organization like your Home Instead® office. Their CAREGiversSM could provide respite care for your daughter while making sure all your needs are met. Hours are flexible, too -- from three hours a week to 24 hours a day. If you just need a little help, that’s all that you will have to budget for your care. Not only will you be helping your daughter, but you’ll be making new friends as well.

Last revised: June 21, 2011

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