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How to work out paying for parent care

7:16 AM, Sep 13, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Caring for a parent costs a lot of money and time, not to mention the high emotional and physical toll of becoming a caretaker.

AARP estimates that family caregivers spend an average of $5500 a year, taking care of an elderly parent. Experts say the best way to overcome some of these obstacles is to ask for help from your siblings.

They have some advice:

  • Avoid finger pointing.  Don't blame your sibling for the past. AND acknowledge their contributions, since you are setting yourself up as partners
  • State the problem by laying out the costs and providing details of how the finances impact you personally.
  • Ask, don't tell. Framing your needs for help as a question, rather than a demand, will help you all figure out a strategy together, that involves splitting costs and duties.

You should know that you are not alone in this situation.  Pew Research finds that nearly 40 percent of American adults are caring for someone with a significant health issue.  That's up from 30 percent just 3 years ago.

The financial impact can be particularly hard on women. MetLife reports that female caregivers, who leave a job to care for a parent, will lose an average of $324,000 in wages, Social Security and pension benefits over a lifetime.