Providing care for a loved one can be one of the most rewarding and difficult things we can do, but can come with serious emotional and financial cost that many do not consider. In a 2013 study by Genworth Financial, they found that 53% of care givers lost income due to the demands of providing care. The average weekly care requirement was 21 hours and a third provided care for 30 or more hours. But the cost goes beyond just financial. In the same report 52% of care givers expressed a high degree of stress and 37% said that caregiving had a negative impact in their relationship with their spouse\partner.
How can you help your loved ones avoid this kind of strain?
- Write it down. Just like a will and medical advance directive, have a written plan in place for the kind of care you want, who will provide it, and where the money will come from to pay for it. Having a written plan helps loved ones know what you want and how the care will be provided.
- Work with an expert. Talk with your financial planner, CPA or a specialist in Long Term Care who can help structure your retirement to more easily provide the funds needed should care be required. The expert can also serve as a coach to help you make good decisions on your plan, finances, and savings goals.
- Consider your family. Most families will naturally rise to the occasion and provide whatever care is needed for a loved one, often times by a daughter or sister. But do you want a loved one providing your care in the first place? Does that family member have the schedule flexibility and willingness to help? Some people want family members to help oversee the care but not provide it. Others like the comfort that family brings; but it is important to have members of the family aware of the plan.
- Do your homework. There are many resources on LTC Consumer and other sites like Care.com or CareScout that can help you find private and public resources for care should you need it.
A little planning goes a long way towards helping in the event of needing long term care. The plan provides peace of mind for you that your family knows what kind care you want, from whom, and how it will be paid for.