There are about 10 million adults over the age of 50 in the United States who provide care for their aging parents. This group must also be planning for their own retirement and the task of being a primary caregiver can negatively affect saving efforts. A recent study from MetLife looked at the impact of caregiving on adult children and their future financial status.
During the past 15 years, the number of adult children providing primary financial or personal care for their parents has increased more than three times. About 25 percent of all adult children in the country today are the main care providers for their parents. The same number is almost equal to the number of non-working adult children who help their parents.
According to MetLife’s survey, the level of care provided by adult children to parents is about the same between male and female. However, men are more likely to provide financial assistance, and women tend to provide more personal care. The cumulative amount of lost Social Security benefits, pensions and wages among these adult caregivers is around $3 trillion.
The total amount of lost money from reduced hours at work or leaving the workforce early to care for an aging parent is about $143,000 for the average woman. The estimated loss of becoming a caregiver is about $131,000 in Social Security benefits and $50,000 in pension funds. For men, lost wages from leaving the workforce early or reducing hours totaled to about $89,000 on average. The average Social Security income loss is about $144,000, and loss of pension funds is around $50,000.
Because of stress, adult children who provide the majority of an aging parent’s care are more prone to serious chronic illnesses. They should strive to lessen the physical, emotional and financial burdens of caring for a parent. Here are some helpful tips:
- If other family members are willing to help, set up a plan to divide expenses.
- Use coupons, prescription discount cards and other saving aids when making purchases.
- Research local community services and outreach programs for seniors.
- Look for faith-based services and aid programs.
- Buy any supplies that are used in large quantities in bulk.
Adult caregivers can save hundreds of dollars every year by employing these simple steps. AARP also recommends making individual care a top priority. Adults who care for their parents should eat well, get enough sleep and exercise. Mental health services and yoga or meditation classes are helpful in reducing stress. Joining a support group for other adult caregivers can also help. To learn more about this topic, discuss your concerns with an agent.