Gail was surprised, but also relieved, when her father, then age 64, told her that as part of his legal and financial planning, he had put in place a durable power of attorney and advance care directives. Now at 78, her father suffers from the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Having the foresight to make arrangements years ago is saving the family both emotional and financial distress.
It's a scenario that Certified Financial Planner Larry Botzman, CRPC and board member of the Financial Planners of America, sees often. Sadly, many families are not as prepared as Gail's.
"What's at risk is the adult children's inheritance," Botzman says. "If the parents' life savings goes toward paying for a nursing home, there is nothing left to leave the children – which can be heartbreaking for the parents."
The lesson here for caregivers is to start planning now for your own future care. Research by the University of Kentucky's College of Human Environmental Services found that only 40 percent of people thought a lot about retirement. A full 77 percent said they felt they were saving too little and poorly prepared for their own retirement.
The study also suggests the caregiving experience brings heightened awareness about the need of one's own retirement and is a time in which many caregivers need exposure to and guidance toward retirement planning activities and information.