Commonly, we fail to plan for the inevitable: Mom and Dad will age, probably live much longer than their parents did, and will likely require more specialized care over a longer period of time. Unfortunately, for many families, this combination has caused a perfect storm, pushing families’ budgets and stress levels to the limit. More family caregivers are in the workforce—some 60 percent work full- or part-time in addition to their caregiving responsibilities. This trend will continue, and those who have to pull back face substantial economic risk from loss of income, benefits, contributions to their own retirement savings, or reduced social security benefits.8
Still, most people don’t have a plan to deal with what’s around the corner much less ten to fifteen years down the road. But then something happens. A father or grandparent becomes ill or can no longer live independently. A mother loses her job because she has had to take too much time off work to assist her aging parents. Something big happens and it’s a wake-up call. If you’re lucky, that wake-up call comes while there is still time to plan. If you’re not so lucky, some profound changes are on the horizon and you’re not well prepared to face them. It’s this latter scenario that adds to the growing collection of nightmare stories that make their way into news headlines.
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