As the Baby Boomer population ages, the nature and requirement of caregiving for elderly parents or relatives is continuously evolving. In an article released by the MIT AgeLab, it is estimated that “today, 34.2 million Americans (14.3% of the population) provide care for someone age 50 or older.” While the demands of caregiving may start out slowly, they can quickly progress from both a time and cost perspective. Recent data from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP indicates “the average time dedicated to caregiving for someone age 50 or older is 24.1 hours per week…[and] caregivers spend on average $5,531 out-of-pocket annually on caregiving related expenses, such as household goods, food and meals, travel and transportation costs, and medical expenses.” This is typically done while the caregivers are juggling a career and family of their own, making it increasingly important to build a network of local resources that can help relieve some of the caregiving demands.
Caregivers can find assistance navigating some of the emotional and time demands through local Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), which is a network of organizations across the nation serving populations ages 60 and older. Most AAAs offer varying levels of service in the following areas:
- Nutrition – counseling, home delivered and congregate meals
- Caregiver Support – respite care and caregiver training
- Information & Referral – information about assistance programs and referrals to administrators
- Long Term Care Ombudsmen – information about long term care facilities and investigation of complaints
- Insurance Counseling – helping seniors understand and maximize the benefits of their insurance (especially Medicare)
- Transportation – assistance understanding and coordinating shared, non-medical transportation services
A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ can help you create a long-term care plan for your future, as well as preparing to help family members. An advisor can offer insight on the pros and cons of purchasing a long-term care policy and the types of policies that may fit your specific situation, as well as self-funding a long-term care plan.
Call Sharkey, Howes & Javer at 303-639-5100 to speak with a CFP® and identify caregiving resources for your loved ones, or to discuss your priorities and plans for your own future.