Caregivers: Re-examine Your Options Before Quitting Your Job

Caregivers: Re-examine Your Options Before Quitting Your Job

Being a caregiver to your aging parents most certainly feels like a full time job and all the added responsibilities and pressures may make it seem as though giving up your day job to provide full-time care to your parents is the best option. However, before taking that giant leap, adult children should reconsider their options.

A recent MetLife study suggests that U.S. adult children should think twice about abandoning their careers in order to provide full time care for a parent due to the loss of revenue they are sacrificing both now and in the future. Around 10 million employed caregivers in the U.S. lose an estimated $3 trillion in wages, pensions and Social Security benefits over a lifetime for leaving the workforce prematurely.

In the last 15 years alone the percentage of adult children providing personal care and/or financial assistance to a parent has more than tripled. Among baby boomers providing care daughters are more likely to provide basic care to their aging parents than sons who are more likely to offer financial assistance.

When adult children sacrifice work to provide care to their parents they are not only missing out on a paycheck, but also years of service required to become vested in a defined benefits pension plan, to receive matching 401(k) funds or to build Social Security benefits.

Caregivers should budget their funds carefully and examine possible freer or low-cost community services and government health programs. The following list from the American Cancer Society provides a great starting point for caregivers to find the help they need in lieu of taking a sojourn from their careers.

1. American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)

(800) 424-3410

Offers information on financial planning and estate planning, money management assistance to low-income seniors who have difficulty budgeting, paying bills, and reconciling bank statements. Helps prevent financial abuse of frail, older adults and enables them to remain financially viable and in their own homes.

2. Caring Voice Coalition

1-804-427-6468,  1-888-267-1440

Seeks to empower patients with life-threatening, chronic illnesses. Current programs include a financial

assistance program, insurance education and counseling, and a patient support program.

3. Dignity Resources

1-877-563-2100

Helps people understand the assets and financial options available to them during a serious or life-threatening illness, and assists them in making the most informed choices possible given their particular situation.

4. The National Council on Aging

Compares the information you give with eligibility requirements for Social Security, Medicaid, in-home services, supplemental nutrition assistance, pharmacy programs, and state programs.

5. U.S. Administration on Aging

1-800-677-1116

Provides benefits for older adults. Eldercare locator finds resources in your local community.

6. In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS)

A federal, state, and locally funded program designed to provide assistance to those eligible aged, blind, and disabled individuals who, without this care, would be unable to remain safely in their own homes.

7. BenefitsCheckUpRx

Resource provided by the National Council on the Aging for individuals age 55 and older who have difficulty paying for their medicines. Web site can find drug assistance programs as well as programs to help with rent, property taxes, meals and other needs.

8. Together Rx Access

1-800-444-4106

Helps individuals and families who lack prescription drug coverage save on brand-name prescription drugs, other prescription products, and a wide range of generic drugs. Must meet eligibility criteria.

9. American Cancer Society Road to Recovery Program

1-800-227-2345

Volunteers transport patients and families to hospitals and clinics for treatment free of charge. In some places, the American Cancer Society may also provide limited assistance with the cost of gas.

10. National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE)

Learn practical steps to get smart about money from getting out of debt and budgeting to setting financial goals and investing money to reach those goals.

Finding the time and resources to care for aging parents is no easy task, but abandoning your career is not going to be beneficial to you in the short or long term. Take some time to research other available options and consider what is at stake for your financial future.

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  1. Pingback: 10 Ways to Volunteer with Family Caregivers « Elder Advocates

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