Caregiving May Elbow Boomer Retirement

Baby Boomers acting as adult caregivers have found the experience more challenging in several ways, including cost, said a study.

The study, “Retirement Care Planning: The Middle-Income Boomer Perspective,” from the Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement, showed that 88% of middle-income Baby Boomers found caregiving for a parent or spouse affected them more than they expected in terms of cost (34%), impact on their relationships (33%) and need for physical strength (32%). Those polled also said that the experience required more emotional strength (57%), patience (55%) and time (52%) than they expected.

In the United States, among middle-income Boomers, four in 10 have been a caregiver to a parent or spouse. Among these caregivers, 77% cared for a parent, and nearly one-fourth (23%) cared for a spouse.

The study also found that one-third (32%) of male Boomers classify themselves as adult caregivers, only modestly trailing the percentage of female Boomers who have been adult caregivers (44%).

In terms of assistance, most Boomer caregivers reported that they received limited help from others with their caregiving duties. Sixty-nine percent reported that their spouse does not provide extensive caregiving support, 78% said their children did not heavily participate, and 68% said that other family members did not directly participate in most caregiving duties.

Boomer caregivers ranked the following activities as important when planning for retirement care:

  • Start planning early (95%);
  • Do more planning (94%);
  • Research care options in advance (93%);
  • Talk to your family about your care plan (92%); and
  • Get professional advice (84%).

“Don't overlook retirement care even if you've taken steps to build a financial plan for your retirement,” said Chris Campbell, senior vice president of marketing and communications at Bankers Life and Casualty Company. “Talk openly about your care and engage in an honest two-way dialogue about your care preferences and the role your loved ones may play.”

The study was conducted in April 2013 by research firm The Blackstone Group on behalf of the Center. A nationwide sample of 1,299 Americans ages 49 to 67, who have an annual household income of between $25,000 and $75,000, participated in the Internet-based survey. Of the sample, 505 responses were categorized as caregivers, with caregivers defined as current or former caregivers to a parent, step-parent, in-law or spouse due to a disability, a chronic disease or old age.

The Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement is a research and consumer education program that provides insight and practical advice for how to achieve financial security during retirement.

More information about the study can be found here.