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I have worked full time for 40 years and paid into social security but am now staying at home taking care of my Mother with Dementia as her caregiver. How is this going to affect my social security benefits? I am trying to do the best for her without shooting myself in the foot.

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No, SS has nothing to do with caregiving.

Being Moms caregiver does not effect your SS. Your Mom's and your income are separate. If Mom needs services, its based on her income yours is not considered.

If you are a widow you can collect at 60. You can start collecting at 62 but will get less than if you wait till 66 or 67 (depending on your birthdate)for 100%. If you wait till 70 u get over the 100%.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Are you at retirement age?
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Reply to tacy022
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What exactly is your question about this? Your monthly SS will be based on the years you worked & your eligible income over that period. If you are no longer earning an income that pays into SS and you aren’t eligible to take your full SS now then by not working, yes you could be reducing the amount of SS you will collect. You can find out through SS what your check would be if you started collecting now vs later If you start earning an income again. My MIL delayed her retirement by 1 year in order to increase her monthly SS check by $100 a month BUT it was silly of her to do that because her SS was taxable because she also had a pension. So come tax time, she owed $2700 to the IRS. So we can’t really give you a yes or no answer here.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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