Caregiving Boomers Revise Retirement Expectations

Eighty percent of baby boomers surveyed in a poll commissioned by Humana indicated they have changed their retirement expectations, with 44% expecting to work longer.

Some 42% also expect a decrease in their investment returns related to the economy, and 21% expect to change or start a new career after they retire, according to a news release.

Fifty-eight percent say they’re concerned about the cost of living during retirement, up from 52% in a similar 2007 survey. Overall, financial stress is highest among boomers when it comes to being prepared for anticipated future health care costs; 65% say they’re stressed about such future costs, with the vast majority of that group expressing extreme anxiety.

Also, according to the survey, almost half of all baby boomers say tending to their own health and well-being comes second to caring for the health needs of loved ones.  While 81% of the baby boomers feel appreciated for providing such care, the vast majority also feel stressed and exhausted; more than one in three of those surveyed say they often feel helpless.

The study found that many baby boomers make considerable sacrifices to care for aging parents:

  • 63% have devoted less time to hobbies and personal interests;
  • 46% have given up social activities;
  • 43% have skipped a vacation;
  • 36% have dipped into personal savings.

“People who ignore their personal well-being are often fine at first,” said Jean Bisio, president of Humana Cares, Humana’s complex-care-management program for members with chronic disease, in a news release. “But over time the impact on one’s personal health can be seen in weight gain, fatigue, and stress-related illness.”

Also according to the survey:

  • 23% of boomers have been caregivers for more than 10 years,
  • 12% for 6-8 years,
  • 24% for 3-5 years, and
  • 31% for zero to two years.

Humana directed StrategyOne, an applied research consulting firm, to conduct a national survey among baby boomers. The survey reached a sample of 1,000 Boomers age 45-64.