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3 painful ways poor LTC planning cuts caregivers' income

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For workers who will be providing informal care for spouses, parents or other loved ones, long-term care (LTC) planning may be a form of income protection.

Analysts at Genworth Financial Inc. (NYSE:GNW) have published a look at how caregiving can affect the caregivers’ finances in a summary of results from a survey of 1,200 U.S. care recipients, care providers and relatives of recent care recipients.

Genworth presented the data at an LTC symposium on Capitol Hill. The company organizes the meetings each year to get policymakers’ thinking about LTC issues.

See also: Congressional panel to support caregivers

Analysts reported at the symposium, for example, that only 48 percent of the care recipients said they had thought about the possibility of needing long-term care before they needed care. Just 12 percent made any kind of plan to handle LTC needs, and only 5 percent said they had made adequate plans for LTC needs.

The analysts also presented data showing that, like a serious disability, the need to provide care for a loved one may be a serious threat to an individual’s ability to earn an income.

About 83 percent of the caregivers said they had at least some positive feelings about providing care, but even many of those reported feeling an extremely high level of stress.

In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made supporting working caregivers a key part of his strategy to decrease stress levels in his country and improve the working caregivers’ productivity.

See also: LTCI Watch: Elder care scandal

For a look at three of the ways caregiving can cause job-related stress in the United States, read on.

Time clock

1. Caregiving may cut the time caregivers can devote to paid work.

About 52 percent of the survey participants said they had to cut back on their working hours once they started providing care.

See also: 5 ways private LTCI affects entire families


2. Caregiving may disrupt a caregivers’ ability to show up on time, or to show up at all.

About 24 percent of the caregivers said they were repeatedly late to work because of caregiving conflicts, and 35 percent said caregiving led to repeated work absences.

See also: AARP: Republicans back caregiver support

Image: LHP Photo/Allison Bell

Man staring at a phone

3. Caregivers may lose their jobs.

Ten percent of the caregivers said the effects of caregiving on their work were so severe that they ended up having to change careers.

See also: 5 ideas for preventing a catastrophic caregiver drought