Caregivers Quit Jobs To Look After Loved Ones

Megan Ray  |  June 7, 2012

Faced with elderly loved ones who need round-the-clock senior care, many Americans are quitting their jobs in order to look after elderly relatives, reports Reuters. Unfortunately, this decision is putting those caregivers in dire economic straits, new research from MetLife reveals.

The insurance company looked at people who gave up their job in order to look after seniors. Most of these people were over the age of 50 themselves. The decision to quit before retirement often resulted in a major financial hit - on average, these people gave up more than $300,000 in earnings, pension and retirement benefits. Women were found to financially suffer more than men, at nearly $325,000 compared to male losses of about $285,000.

According to the news source, many caregivers do not fully consider the financial implications of such a decision. Nancy Wurtzel, 56, closed her public relations company and moved back home to take care of her 91-year-old mother. However, money is now getting tight for Wurtzel after the loss of her income.

"Sadly, I hadn't thought out the financial part," Wurtzel told the news source. "I'm living on my savings. I'm in OK shape now, but I can't continue like this, or I won't have anything for retirement."

Susan Fleischer, a geriatric care expert, says many people make a "reactive" decision to quit their job and it doesn't always work out financially. Fleischer urges caregivers to carefully consider such a major decision and work out exactly how they plan to manage things financially.

Before quitting a job, caregivers should strongly consider alternatives, like moving their loved one into an assisted living facility. Many senior care communities are equipped to provide round-the-clock care, and the senior will have the benefit of interacting with others their own age. This will likely result in less of an economic burden on the caregiver, and there are many financial options available for those who need help paying for elder care.