A new study conducted by the Transamerica Institute details the impact of caregiving in a Long-Term Care situation and the implications it has on the caregivers. The Transamerica Institute is a nonprofit, private foundation dedicated to identifying, researching and educating the public about retirement, health coverage, and other relevant financial issues facing Americans today.

This comprehensive study shows the vast majority (87%) of unpaid caregivers are family members. Among all caregivers, the population is split almost evenly with slightly more women (53 percent) than men (47 percent). Millennials (34 percent) and Baby Boomers (37 percent) are more likely to be caregivers than Generation X (22 percent). Fifty-one percent are employed either full-time or part-time.

Here are a few key findings:

  • 36% of them provide 100 or more hours of care per month
  • 32% of primary caregivers have been providing care for five or more years
  • 53% of primary caregivers are also employed full-or-part time
  • 21% say their health has declined since becoming a caregiver
  • 22% say their financial situation has worsened

While most caregivers tell researchers their caregiving experience is positive and they do it out of love the real impact creates a tremendous burden on the caregiver and their family. Many caregivers are also holding down jobs, in addition to their caregiving duties. This requires a delicate balancing act according to the study. The survey examined how these caregiving duties may be negatively impacting their employment situation.

The majority of all caregivers are currently employed full or part-time (52 percent). Of the 40 percent of caregivers who are not currently employed, most (65 percent) were never employed during their time as a caregiver. 

For those who were employed the study shows the caregiving had a negative impact on their career. As a result of their caregiving duties, 76 percent of employed caregivers have made some type of adjustment to their employment, ranging from using vacation and sick days to quitting their jobs all together.

Twenty-six percent of employed caregivers have reduced their hours or job responsibilities. Eighteen percent of employed caregivers have taken a leave of absence. Fourteen percent of employed caregivers have retired early or quit their job. Forty percent of all employed caregivers feel that their being a caregiver has strained their relationship with their employer. Some have experienced adverse actions taken by their employer. Twenty-eight percent of caregivers who are employed or have been employed during their time as a caregiver have experienced adverse action(s) taken by their employer(s) as a result of their caregiving responsibilities.

Being a caregiving impacts even their future retirement savings as eighteen percent of caregivers have taken some sort of loan or withdrawal from their retirement accounts as a result of their caregiving responsibilities. 

For some the caregiving experience created health issues for the caregiver. Approximately one in six caregivers (17 percent) indicate their general health has gotten worse/declined since becoming a caregiver.

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See the full report here: https://www.transamericainstitute.org/docs/default-source/caregivers-research/the-many-faces-of-caregivers-research-report-2017.pdf

The report confirms what many people already know. Family will step in to be a caregiver in a Long-Term Care situation. Caregiving is not easy and has a physical, emotional and financial impact on the caregiver in many situations. This is why more people are planning in advance for the financial costs and burdens of aging. Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance will provide the tax-free resources to pay for quality caregivers in any setting – either at home, adult day care, assisted living as well as memory care and nursing home. This allows family to be family and not change the relationship from loved one to caregiver which changes the dynamic of the relationship.

Long-Term Care Insurance often will also provide professional case management to help with plans of care and other issues so the family can concentrate on being loving and supporting. The best time to obtain coverage is before retirement as you have the most available options and very affordable premiums.

People require Long-Term Care due to illness, accidents and the impact of aging. The report shows the range of conditions:

Since the risk of needing Long-Term Care is very high having some plan to reduce the burdens and manage the costs of extended care becomes a key part of a future retirement plan. There are three types of insurance products that address Long-Term Care. The traditional tax-qualified policy with includes partnership plans which provide additional dollar-for-dollar asset protection (https://www.ltcnews.com/articles/partnership-plans-provide-additional-asset-protection) asset based or hybrid plans which combine life insurance or annuities with long-term care and limited duration policies which have reduced underwriting requirements and broader age requirements (https://www.ltcnews.com/articles/new-ltc-policy-options-available-hybrid-long-term-care-and-short-term-care).

Affordable options are available for most people. You work hard and saving money for your future retirement will translate to a more enjoyable and worry free retirement. Safeguarding your retirement savings (401(k) IRA 403(b) and other assets is always important with longevity.

Most people also don’t want to burden their family members. Plus, people would rather have choices of quality care in the setting they desire without exhausting their savings, burdening their family and making them become caregivers or both.  Caregiving is hard – Long-Term Care Insurance makes it easier on everyone.