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family caregiver

Advising a Caregiver? They Need Your Help, Survey Finds

Medicare and long-term care anxieties can debilitate caregivers; with the right knowledge, advisors can take care of the caregivers.

Clients who are caregivers, particularly Gen X caregivers, may be facing high levels of anxiety, fear and uncertainty, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual. With 42 percent of caregivers surveyed feeling anxiety, and over half of caregivers frequently or occasionally having to make choices between spending money on the care recipient or on their own or family needs, advisors can make a big impact on those caring for others. Advisors may even be able to help the children of their clients needing care, providing a cross-generational advising opportunity.

Advisors are in a critical position to provide valuable information, which survey results indicate can provide a valuable antidote to anxiety. Experienced caregivers spend more than eight hours a day providing care on average, the survey reported, leaving little time for starting from scratch with topics like Medicare, Social Security and long-term care insurance. Among Gen X caregivers, for example, 76 percent of those surveyed reported “basic,” “minimal,” or “no knowledge” of Medicare, with 81 percent and 82 percent reporting the same knowledge level for Social Security and long-term care insurance, respectively.

“Few caregivers appeared to have significant awareness of resources that could potentially offset some of the stress and pressure they face,” the study noted. For Gen X, “the perceived trade offs in their personal and professional lives are comparatively higher than for caregivers overall, which may contribute to the larger impact on their emotional and mental health.”

“Many caregivers are starting their role in completely unchartered territory, having no prior experience,” said Kamilah Williams-Kemp, vice president of long-term care at Northwestern Mutual. Advisors who are able to fill those gaps are providing valuable information for their clients.

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