Recent studies have highlighted the fact that up to 60% (or more) of family caregivers are also working double duty at a regular job. Double-duty workers are not receiving double paychecks, and can be quite stretched for time in their daily life. While providing care for elderly parents may be saving some money, it also has a negative opportunity cost. Most family caregivers never recover their lost wages.

Research highlights that over 25% of today’s retirees left the workplace earlier than planned – in order to care for a family member (elderly parent or ill spouse). Working caregivers report that their caregiving role impacts their careers in many ways. They feel torn between their work duties and their loved ones’ needs, experiencing elevated stress both at work and at home. They often miss out on opportunities for advancement and promotion, and must cut back on business travel and training. They use all their vacation time and sick days to provide care, sometimes requiring unpaid leave as well. And if they quit their job to care for their loved one, they often find that they are unable to step back into a position comparable to their former level upon their return to the workforce.

Leaving the workforce early, taking a long leave from work, or turning down opportunities for advancement usually is a bad idea, financially speaking. Experts caution that people who sacrifice their paid work to care for an elder spouse, parent or other family member may find themselves, in turn, without adequate resources to fund their own retirement and long-term care due to loss of wages and Social Security earnings, and underfunded pensions or retirement accounts.

Sit down and do some simple math. Hiring a homecare agency may be the most cost effective solution for family and elderly parents.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

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