Your mom and dad are almost ready to retire, and you may be thinking about taking care of them if and when it becomes necessary, because you live close to them. Before you commit to this decision, have you taken time to understand what you are getting into?

Fidelity breaks down the not-so-obvious costs of choosing to take care of aging parents. Prepare yourself for taking great care of yourself while caring for your loved ones.

Understand that your own retirement account may take a hit

If caring for your parents involves you taking a temporary break from work or reducing your hours, that could result in you having less to contribute to your own retirement accounts. Your company’s HR department could offer resources for employees who also act as caregivers.

Ask your family to help you out

While you may have siblings willing to help your parents in their golden years, they may not have the option of moving closer to home. In such instances, siblings sometimes pay the brother or sister who cares for elderly parents as an independent contractor, rather than hiring a home health aide. That way, you still receive an income while helping out your parents, and your siblings can feel like they contribute, too.  Be sure to have a written caregiver agreement in place, preferably prepared by an elder law attorney.

Make yourself aware of your limits

Because you likely have not acted as a caregiver for elderly loved ones, you may not have a well-informed idea of the expenses involved. This could result in you spending your own money to care for your parents, which could be to your own financial detriment. There are groups and other resources that could help, ones that work with nonprofit organizations, businesses and the government to provide aid for people in your situation.

This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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