The Baby Boomers and their kids are getting older; as a result, it has been determined that over the next 38 years the number of Americans in the 65-and-over category will more than double. Unfortunately, as one’s age increases so too does the frequency and cost of illness. Thus, with the annual cost for nursing home care averaging over $70,000 ($134,000 in the western New York area), the number of U.S. workers providing unpaid eldercare for their parent(s) is expected to increase as well. In fact, almost one-half of the work force expects to be providing unpaid eldercare within the next five years.
This statistic is significant because providing such care may be detrimental to one’s career, especially those of women. The amount of time required to provide proper care may be more of a time commitment than one expects or can afford. In addition to time concerns, one may also have to worry about arranging for an in-home nurse to provide care when one is away, or the upkeep and review of the elder’s financial matters, etc., as well as one’s own responsibilities. This does not mean that one should shy away from caring for elderly parents or friends; rather, it means one should take steps now to protect their interests should the time come to provide care.
To begin with, know the rights and protections afforded by the Family and Medical Leave Act. After that, learn whether your parent(s) qualifies for any government benefits by checking Govbenefits.gov. Review your financial plan now to prepare for the potential impact of providing care. Finally, consult your estate planning attorney for help.