As Americans get older and more people reach retirement age every day, families are having to deal with the realities of elder care. The AARP recently released a report stating that about 42 percent of workers have self-reported taking time to provide family members or friends with unpaid elder care services within the last five years. Another 49 percent expect to do the same in the next five years.
The report details that women are disproportionately affected, and that the average person providing unpaid elder care is a 49-year old woman who spends as much as 20 hours per week providing unpaid elder care services. More than half of these women report that they’ve had to adjust their work schedules, while 30 percent have reported that they’ve had to pass on opportunities for advancement or added responsibilities in their regular jobs.
Financial concerns are at the forefront of the concerns for those who spend unpaid time providing elder care services. The hours spent providing care can significantly impact careers even if a person only spends part-time hours devoted to providing the care. In addition to lost opportunities for advancement, unpaid elder care providers report having less time to devote to other interests, while those on hourly wages report earning less as they often have to take time off from work to provide care. The lost income can erode retirement contributions and risk the pursuit of other long-term financial goals.
Byrd : Garrett, PLLC is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.