People are living longer than ever, and, as life expectancy continues to rise, so does the number of Americans taking on the role of caregiver for a senior parent. Today, more than 40 million Americans are caring for an elderly parent or family member. In addition to working and caring for their children, caregivers spend between eight and thirty hours per week caring for their elderly loved ones. It should come as no surprise, then, that most caregivers are taking on this role feeling overwhelmed by and under-prepared for the responsibilities that come with the job.
We suggest consulting these financial professionals to help ease the burden of becoming a caregiver:
As their cognitive health declines or they begin to struggle with their memory, your loved one may need assistance managing their finances. A financial advisor can assist with this effort to ensure that your loved one’s immediate and long-term financial needs are being met. In addition, they can work with you to help alleviate any of the financial stress that comes along with becoming a caregiver.
Before choosing a financial advisor:
- Be aware of the differences between a fee-only and a fee-based professional
- Consider this list of questions from US. News & World Report to ask a financial advisor
- Look into a certified financial planner that specializes in elder care or retirement planning
Elder Law Attorney
Surprisingly, 49% of those providing financial caregiving don’t have the legal authorization to do so. This will become a significant issue if your loved one becomes incapacitated and cannot make sound financial decisions. An elder law attorney can draw up a living trust or a durable power of attorney document, giving you the legal right to make financial decisions on behalf of your loved one. Visit the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys for more information and to find an elder law attorney in your area.
An AARP study suggests that the average caregiver spends approximately 20% of their annual income on out-of-pocket costs related to caregiving. Fortunately, qualifying caregivers can claim tax deductions for certain expenses, including medical expenses, food, and home modifications. Specific requirements must be met to claim your loved one as a dependent or to deduct medical expenses, and they can change year-to-year. We suggest consulting a tax attorney or accountant before preparing any tax forms. Be sure that they are familiar with elderly dependent care and are willing to walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have along the way.
Working and establishing relationships with financial experts will undoubtedly provide you and your family with some peace of mind as you embark on the caregiving journey. For more information and support, visit Caring.com.