The American population is aging at an unprecedented rate. According to a 2016 Population Reference Bureau report, the number of Americans ages 65 and older will reach 98 million by 2060. Caring for this aging population will create unique challenges for families throughout the country, many of whom will be tasked with serving as caregivers. Providing care for an elderly or disabled family member can be a life-changing experience that impacts an individual on an emotional, physical, and financial level.
Watching a loved one’s health deteriorate over time can take a cruel toll on the caregiver. Many individuals tasked with caring for a loved one begin to experience depression. This depression is magnified by the feeling of isolation associated with providing around-the-clock care while sacrificing time with friends and family.
Caregivers routinely help loved ones with activities of daily living, such as bathing and toileting. Over time, these physically demanding tasks can lead to injuries. Furthermore, the emotional stress noted above can manifest itself physically. Physical symptoms experienced by caregivers can include exhaustion, headaches, nausea, chest pains, and insomnia.
Due to the time required to properly care for a loved one, many caregivers find full-time employment to be unsustainable. These individuals are forced to switch from full-time to part-time employment or leave the workforce entirely. Caregivers must then adjust their lifestyle and financial goals to compensate for a sudden decrease in income. Some caregivers may even be forced to utilize retirement savings to cover basic living expenses.
Caring for sick or disabled loved ones can be tremendously rewarding, but it can also be ruinous. Fortunately, you can take steps to spare your loved ones from the jarring impact of providing care for you in the future. It is important to have a conversation with your spouse and other family members about your potential long-term care needs and the effect that providing long-term care can take on a family member caregiver. Speak with your Stifel Financial Advisor today to develop a plan for how you and your family will handle future long-term care needs.
1 Mark Mather, Linda A. Jacobsen, and Kelvin M. Pollard, “Aging in the United States,” Population Bulletin 70, No. 2 (2015).