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To female caregivers of elderly: Keep working!

eldercare031411_optBY CAROL ABAYA
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
THE SANDWICH GENERATION

Asked by numerous women whether they should quit their job to stay at home and care for a sick parent or spouse, I have always said “NO!” Keep on working.

Quitting your job to stay home and care for a sick parents, or even a spouse, severely jeopardizes your overall – current and future – financial well-being. The snowball effect works against the caregiver.

  • Contributions to social security, pensions and IRA plans are reduced, thereby severely reducing retirement income.
  • Caregiver savings may have to be used to pay current bills for self and family as well as for care recipient. This reduces retirement financial well-being.
  • Caregiver savings for funding children’s college is reduced and monies would not be available to pay for such education. Loans taken by both parents and children place everyone in debt.
  • Caregiver stress can end in caregiver health problems, thereby reducing ability to care for parent/spouse. Millions of caregivers end up in emergency rooms because of stress created medical conditions.
  • Caregiver medical bills can drain savings if there is no health insurance, because there is no job.
  • Continuing to work -- even on a reduced basis -- means that caregivers will 
  1. have increased retirement income; 
  2. have money to pay for children’s college education;
  3. be able to pay someone else to do ADL and IADL tasks, thus
  4. relieving the sandwich generation stress and responsibilities;
  5. have better self health.

This snowball effect theory of mine, developed years ago, is strongly supported by a recent MetLife study that puts caregiver financial loses at $3 trillion a year. This amount will skyrocket as more baby boomers become sandwich generationers and elder caregivers.



 
Comments (1)
1 Monday, 30 January 2012 19:58
Silvia
I never thought about actually quitting my job in order to help in the care of my grandfather, but considering we can't afford his home-care nurse any longer, I feel it's something we have to deal with in my family. He's only 74, but he's had several bad accidents over the last 3 years so he's not physically as stronger as he once was, but he still wants his indepedence which becomes the challenge. My brother and I bought him a little, prepaid flip SVC senior cell phone last year in case of emergencies and he's now using it regularly when we aren't there - as we had hoped. While I don't think a cell phone is a suitable caregiver while we aren't there, it's the best we can do.

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