The annual costs of elder care crosses generations, according to a recent CBS MoneyWatch article entitled “How to ease the pain of paying for elder care.”
Statistics show that Baby Boomers spend 13% of their annual income on unpaid caregiving, and those ages 71 to 91, called the Silent Generation, spend about 25%, mostly on spouses or partners. The GenXers—ages 35 to 50—spend about 24% of their annual income on caregiving for parents, and millennials (ages 18 to 34) spend the largest percentage, at 27%. This is surprising when millennials usually are thought of as mooching off of their parents.
A family meeting is a great way to assess your family’s financial and aging status and to plan for what may be required throughout the year. These types of discussions can help you plan for future elder care expenses in order to place them into a budget, along with your own retirement savings and savings for children’s education.
You can also ease the financial burden of caring for a loved one by investigating government programs. Many advocates anticipate legislation that will aid family caregivers. State and local governments may also give some tax breaks and other aid programs for seniors, particularly those individuals needing home renovations to stay in their homes. Those tasked with caregiving should also look into neighborhood religious and community groups for support. There may be senior- and disabled-specific funding programs, along with able-bodied volunteers who can help lighten the load.
Another option is aging life care professionals or what used to be called “geriatric care managers.” These professionals can help you untangle the messy world of elder care, including finances. These consultants are typically experienced social workers, gerontologists, and other health care professionals. They can help investigate potential local financial resources, provide assistance when your family is facing medical or other emergencies, and point you to an experienced elder law attorney for estate planning, such as power of attorney, health proxies, and other important documents.
Reference: CBS MoneyWatch (December 23, 2016) “How to ease the pain of paying for elder care”