It may be true: Your aging relative needs more and more care. You know you are the best person for the job. But it’s too much to do on top of your own work. Think twice before exiting the workforce, however. There are some stiff financial consequences.
For example, if you are midcareer, you are in your prime income-earning years. This is when you want to double down on retirement savings. If your employer offers retirement matching funds, you want to be in a position to grab them! And continue contributing to Social Security.
According to a Met Life study:
- Men age 50 and over who left work to care for a parent lost an average of $89,107 in wages. The impact on their Social Security benefits was $144,609. Loss of pension income, $50,000. Altogether, early retirement cost male employees $283,716 over their lifetime.
- Caregiving women age 50 and over got hit much harder. They tended to leave work sooner. Lost wages averaged $142,693. Women lost $131,351 in Social Security. Figuring lost pension at $50,000, early retirement cost female employees $324,044.
Consider these options:
- Hiring help at home may be less expensive than losing your wages. Suggest sharing the cost with your siblings. (Show them this article!) Then no one among you bears the sole financial burden.
- You might take advantage of an adult day center to provide care during your work hours.
- Ask about flex-time options so you can work when others can care for mom or dad.
- Investigate Family Medical Leave. If your company is big enough, you may be able to take weeks or months off. (It is unpaid.) That may get you through a crisis and buy you time to make other arrangements.
In your generous desire to help, be careful you don’t shortchange your own future.
Is it time to get your siblings more involved?
At Senior Care Management Services we’ve seen one sibling become the primary caregiver while others seem not to pitch in. It’s not necessarily a matter of laziness. Often it’s a matter of not understanding the needs. As the Northern Virginia expert in family caregiving, we can help you meet with your siblings and work out a plan that addresses everyone’s concerns. Give us a call at 703-329-0900.
I recently spoke with some bank colleagues about the role and benefits of elder care services in banks. At first glance this may seem an unlikely combination, but in fact, it is increasingly a benefit offered to private bank and trust clients. Some banks have been doing this for many years, and a few others are just now incorporating the service into their trust or private bank services. Banks are paying bills, managing assets, setting up in-home care, etc to ensure a customer’s well-being. Sometimes they are even setting up the sale of a house. Oftentimes they will bring in geriatric care managers to oversee the care and care coordination. They may charge an additional fee for these services, or include them in the asset management fees paid by the
Trust officers have close relationships with their clients, and are often the first to notice when their elderly client (or a younger client with special needs) needs more services to remain safely in the home. Starting early and bringing in services as the needs evolve allows an elder to age in place safely. For the bank, attracting and managing bank deposits is of primary importance and keeping an elder safe, and in his or her own home, will go far in maintaining the elder’s assets.
We were recently called in by a family upon their arrival to the U.S. after being evacuated from Cairo. The employee and her elderly family member were evacuated on short notice from Cairo during the 18 day protest. With the employee’s corporate elder care benefit, we were able to step in and assess the elder’s current functioning and needs, and work with both of them to set up a plan and gather resources so that the elder could get situated in his new area. While the assessment took place on a Saturday morning so the employee could be present, the planning and resource gathering took place during the week that followed, all while the employee was at work. The employee missed no work and did not need to be pulled away or distracted with the details of care planning, the elderly family member is engaged in activities in his new area, and the Revolution came to an inspiring conclusion. What a week.
When considering adding an elder care benefit to your work/life program, consider that offering one is relatively inexpensive, and has high internal and external value. There is well known research from MetLife that shows how elder care benefits reduce turnover, increase productivity, and decrease absenteeism and healthcare costs. A range of services can be provided, some low-intervention and low-cost, such as resource and referral, to higher-touch programs, such as care management, which involves more in-person assessment, problem solving and guidance.
What to do? It is time to respond. Doing nothing is more costly. To your employees, to their families, and to your business.
I spoke with a Human Resources colleague recently who stated that while corporations and their employees have a great need for organizational elder care benefits, it is important that those who provide the benefit remain flexible in delivering the product. That is, elder care consultants need to provide a menu of elder care services that are broad enough to touch many lives, and address many situations.
We at Senior Care Management Services are accustomed to this request. We recognize that each elder care situation is unique. Thus, whether it be through presentations to employees at their work site, elder care question and answer sessions with a group of employees, in-person or phone consultation with an employee, or an in-home assessment with the elder’s participation, we can help to uncover the unique needs of the elder and guide the family toward a workable solution. Ultimately, the employer’s cost is reduced through improved employee productivity and presenteeism.