Did you know an estimated 66% of caregivers are female? The average caregiver in the United States is a woman around 49-52 years of age who works outside the home and provides 20 hours per week of unpaid care to older family members like a mother or father.
The reason for this is simple. Women live longer than men and choose to live with their families in their later years rather than a healthcare facility. This could be because of money, stress, or simply to stay close to younger generations and bridge the gap of culture, traditions, and family stories.
Whatever the reason, the daughters are taking out the diapers, cooking the extra meals, and handling boatloads of laundry. This can lead down some dark roads if not carefully managed.
In this blog post, we will look at women care givers and how this decision may change your life due to time demands, budgeting demands, and work-life balance.
The Effects of Women Caregivers on the Family
There are added elements that most of us women already know all too well when it comes to taking care of our older family members. Yes, there are financial concerns about housing, feeding, and supporting another adult. But there are also mental, physical, and emotional consequences to consider.
Women caregivers suffer higher rates of anxiety and depression. They can run themselves so hard that they exacerbate any existing health conditions from burning the candle at both ends. It is a sad reality that in our country, women are the ones facing the challenge of choosing between paid overtime or rushing home to help their aging parents get out of the tub for free.
Even worse, women caregivers can build up resentment towards other family members of equal or greater resources who do not take on the responsibility. This is because women feel a complex mix of expectations, obligations, love, and gratitude and will often exercise their valid frustrations on other family members who choose not to pick up the slack.
How to Balance the Expectations
There are some bills before Congress about helping the millions of Americans dealing with aging family members’ care. There will most likely be some form of aid and programming to alleviate the emotional stress and financial burden, but in the meantime, the real change happens at home.
If you are a female caregiver facing a real challenge and have living siblings, it may be time to set a meeting. There needs to be a team effort to ensure your aging family member is well cared for, without placing such a high toll on your own sanity that the situation becomes dangerous.
- Try to negotiate some kind of caregiving plan between everyone involved, so all the needs are addressed.
- Keep open lines of communication with as little judgment as possible, so everyone feels safe to voice their concerns.
- Be flexible about what you can and cannot do. Like every relationship, you’re trying to manage expectations.
- Be honest about the situation and have those difficult heart-to-heart conversations.
Planning for the Future
Being a female caregiver is a serious challenge that only gets harder as the years move on. That is why it is crucial you start planning today for those unforeseen situations by meeting with a qualified financial advisor like the experts at Meyers Financial Services. They have direct experience working with women as they grow older and make the transition from parent to a caregiver.
Just because you are managing the daily schedule and needs of your older parent, uncle, or grandmother doesn’t mean you have to give up on your retirement savings. Working with our experienced team will provide you with the tools you need to protect your own future while still providing quality care for your loved one. Reach out today and schedule an appointment. We cannot wait to hear from you!
Lillian Meyers CFP®, CDFA®, EA is a Financial Planner for Women in Sonoma, California helping clients live their best life through the use of financial planning, investment management, and other sophisticated financial options.