SO YOUR PARENTS NEED CARE — WHO, HOW, WILL YOU PROVIDE?

Are you a caregiver…? Of any kind?
Visit a loved one a nursing home?
Provide for assistance with activity of daily living?
Pay bills, write checks, etc?

Do you work full time? Are you raising your own kids?
How does this balance work? Are you empty? Exhausted? Is it necessary that you be the provider?

Most of us who help serve in this role will tell you – yes, “family can do it better.” You will also hear it is our job to provide care, our duty, out of love.

And I am not writing to argue otherwise. In fact, I am not writing to analyze or question why we serve or provide care at all.

I am writing to simply make an observation. Needed or not. Good or not. Necessary or not. If you are a caregiver of any kind to a parent, that process will affect you in some way.

Statistically speaking – this is how it can / will affect you: http://www.metlife.com/assets/cao/mmi/publications/mmi-pressroom/2011/mmi-caregiving-costs-working-caregivers-pr.pdf

The Met Life Study on Caregiving Costs found that:

Adult children age 50+ who work and provide care to a parent are more
likely than those who do not provide care, to report that their health is fair
or poor.

The percentage of adult children providing personal care
and/or financial assistance to a parent has more than tripled over the past 15
years and currently represents a quarter of adult children, mainly Baby Boomers.
Working and non-working adult children are almost equally likely to provide care
to parents in need.

Overall, caregiving sons and daughters provide
comparable care in many respects, but daughters are more likely to provide basic
care (i.e., help with dressing, feeding and bathing) and sons are more likely to
provide financial assistance defined as providing $500 or more within the past
two years. Twenty-eight percent of women provide basic care, compared with 17%
of men.

For women, the total individual amount of lost wages due to leaving
the labor force early because of caregiving responsibilities equals $142,693.
The estimated impact of caregiving on lost Social Security benefits is $131,351.
A very conservative estimated impact on pensions is approximately $50,000. Thus,
in total, the cost impact of caregiving on the individual female caregiver in
terms of lost wages and Social Security benefits equals $324,044.

For men, the total individual amount of lost wages due to leaving the labor force early because of caregiving responsibilities equals $89,107. The estimated impact of
caregiving on lost Social Security benefits is $144,609. Adding in a
conservative estimate of the impact on pensions at $50,000, the total impact
equals $283,716 for men, or an average of $303,880 for male or female caregivers
age 50+ who care for a parent. “

Amazing statistics, and not surprising. It is not an easy job and I wish those of you who do it, many blessings and perhaps I challenge all of us to find a way to make this very important stage in family life, less harmful for those willing to do it.

Lauren Ellerman
Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.