By: Paul Lorah
Two out of every five adults are family caregivers of loved ones and most are also working full or part-time jobs. But increasingly, working women over 50 are leaving their jobs in order to provide the necessary care.
When employees with caregiving duties are forced to choose between work and family, everyone loses. This can be particularly true for women, who still make up 60% of the family caregiver population (though men are increasingly shouldering the responsibility).
Stepping Away From Work for Caregiving
A study at Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research discovered that one-third of boomer women are currently caring for an elderly parent, devoting eight to 30 hours per week to caregiving in addition to their time at work. Caregiving for parents peaks in the mid 50s, the authors say.
At our offices, we’ve seen that all this caregiving can have a tremendous financial impact, not to mention the emotional and physical stress. Most caregivers feel their career is negatively impacted by their caregiving situation.
The impact is very real. Losses can come in the shape of lost wages or in sacrifices of future pay raises or promotions.
Statistics for Working Women Who Are Caregivers
- The average income lost by caregivers each year is a whopping 33%.
- Caregivers pay for many caregiving expenses out of their own pockets, to the tune of $10,000 a year.
- Overall, 11% of caregivers end up having to quit their job to care for someone at home around-the-clock.
- If a woman does have to leave her job due to caregiving needs, the lost wages, pensions and Social Security benefits over her lifetime total more than $300,000.
This is unfortunate for employees and employers . Trying to retain highly-trained and valuable employees is good for business and everyone involved, however, not all employers can afford to do this. Many small companies struggle as it is.
As Americans are living longer, the issue of how to juggle work and caregiving is becoming increasingly important. The number of adult children caring for an elderly parent has tripled over just the past 15 years. And the population of 35 million elders will double by 2030. So the number of people who need elder care will continue to grow rapidly as the population ages.
Family caregiving is today’s issue just as child care was in the 1980s. We as a society need to recognize and try to accommodate the reality that so many workers today have significant caregiving responsibilities at home.
Author Paul Lorah is a Medicaid and Long Term Care Planning expert who has authored such books as "Planning and Paying for Long Term Care' and "How to Get Medicaid to Pay for Your Long Term Care Costs".
Medicaid Plus, P.C offers expert services in Medicaid Planning, asset protection, VA benefits and elder law. Contact us for any services we can help you with in PA, NJ or Delaware. 855.471.6771