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Planning for Retirement as a Caregiver

What does retirement mean?

In the past retirement has often meant that we no longer had to work and that we could then spend our dancing "Golden" years relaxing or doing nothing at all. However, times have changed, in this new millennium most retirees and pre-retirees do not look at retirement as a time of rest and relaxation. Instead, they see it as a new, active stage of their lives characterized by continued personal growth, personal reinvention and new beginnings in work and leisure. If you are currently working, caring for an older adult and close to retirement what will retirement mean to you? 

  • A time to relax

  • Work part-time

  • Travel 

  • Take classes 

  • More time providing care

What does retirement mean to you as a caregiver?

As an employed caregiver you may already feel "sandwiched" between financial obligations to children and aging parents. According to a survey by Allstate Financial called "Retirement Reality Check", more than one in three Baby Boomers (37 %) will be financially responsible for parents or children during retirement. Seven percent of boomers will be financially responsible for both parents and children in retirement. While these are very alarming statistics, the good news is that it is never too late to start planning and saving. Financial planning services are available to help people meet their financial obligations, secure their retirement and enjoy financial independence.

How should I, as a caregiver, prepare for retirement?

As previously stated it is never too late to start planning. Review your current finances, determine your future needs and develop a plan to achieve your goals. There are many books and websites that can assist you with planning. It may also be helpful to consult a financial planner. Just as we plan for our finances during retirement we must also look at and plan for our emotional needs. Retirement is a major life change and can be very stressful. Not to mention the stress related to caregiving. Therefore, it is more important than ever to take care of our emotional needs. Caregivers may decide that they are obligated to devote more time to caregiving since they are no longer working. While these are admirable thoughts, remember that in order continue to care for your loved one, you need to remain in the best physical and emotional health. Things to consider when designing activities during retirement are that activities should include a balance of individual, partner and group activities and that each activity should be fulfilling and meaningful (housecleaning and fixing things are usually thought of as chores) 

  • Individual activities are things you can do alone (i.e. reading a book, sewing, fishing) · 

  • Partner activities are things you do with another person (i.e. playing cards, traveling) 

  • Group activities are things done with multiple people that have similar interests (i.e. sporting activities, church activities, lunch clubs) 

Remember, retirement can optimistically be viewed as a new and challenging time full of possibilities. We just need to plan for it.