The 3 Biggest Risks to Caregivers

 November is National Caregiver’s Month.  According to the Caregiver Action Network (CAN), there are over 90 million family caregivers in the United States; that is about 39% of all adult Americans that are caring for a loved one who is sick or disabled.  Being a caregiver is a difficult job – one that carries many risks.

Caregivers sacrifice of themselves on every level in an effort to care for those they love, but often at a great cost to their health, well-being and financial situation. 

Biggest Risks to Caregivers:

(1)   Risk to Health:  According to a 1999 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, highly strained family caregivers are at risk for premature mortality (Schulz & Beach, 1999). Other studies indicate that caregivers are at risk for increased mortality, coronary heart disease and stroke, particularly under conditions of high strain.  Take Action:  Make sure you are eating right, exercising and addressing your own medical conditions.  This may mean asking other friends, family or professional caregivers for assistance.

(2)   Risk to Well-Being:  Mental health and balanced life are at risk when caregivers focus more upon their loved ones than themselves.  Unfortunately, not taking the time to rest and rejuvenate – to take a mental break and enjoy one’s own interests – can cause major mental, emotional and medical stress to the caregiver, making them unavailable to care for their loved ones.  Take Action:  Seek out caregiver support groups in your local community and/or with condition-specific organizations, talk to friends and family to seek support, and make sure you take time to do things to care for you (seek spiritual support, write/blog about your journey, etc.).

(3)   Risk to Finances:  According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare, nearly half of working caregivers report that caregiving expenses have depleted most – or even all – of their savings.  Individuals are sacrificing their own financial security and future retirement in their caregiving role.  Take Action:  Seek the services of professionals to form a strategy for paying for your loved one’s care, as well as planning your own current and future financial needs.  Your professional team should include a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, a CPA and an Estate Planning Attorney (possibly one who specializes in Elder Law). 

If you or someone you know is a caregiver, taking action to address these 3 risks is necessary to maintain health, sanity and well-being.  If you have questions regarding resources for caregivers or professional resources for elder care planning, please contact me.

Sandra Adams, CFP® is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In 2012-2014 Sandy has been named to the Five Star Wealth Managers list in Detroit Hour magazine. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.

Five Star Award is based on advisor being credentialed as an investment advisory representative (IAR), a FINRA registered representative, a CPA or a licensed attorney, including education and professional designations, actively employed in the industry for five years, favorable regulatory and complaint history review, fulfillment of firm review based on internal firm standards, accepting new clients, one- and five-year client retention rates, non-institutional discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered, number of client households served.

This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Center for Financial Planning, Inc. and not necessarily those of Raymond James. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Consult a legal professional for any legal matters. C14-038184