Why Baby Boomers are stretched too thin

Why Boomers are stretched too thin

Baby Boomers are feeling the squeeze. They’re facing record-high unemployment rates, loss of home values, decrease of retirement investments, and now they’re also serving as caregivers to their won’t-grow-up kids AND their parents, who are living longer than ever. Meanwhile, the depressed housing market means it’s harder for their parents to sell their homes to afford medical care and assisted living, leaving their adult children with a serious and unexpected burden.

This morning I went on public radio’s “The Takeaway” to discuss this topic (listen here!). If you’re a stretched-too-thin Boomer, here’s what you should know:

Caring for aging parents is a drain on finances

A September survey on Baby Boomers caring for parents and children found that 43% have decreased spending on food or groceries, and 78% said they are worried about having enough money to retire comfortably. Another study released earlier this month by Genworth found that almost half of people serving as primary caregivers to loved ones had suffered a major negative effect on their career—such as losing their jobs and being forced to change shifts. And we’re not talking about a small number of people: More than 65 million Americans have served as unpaid caregivers to family members within the past year, according to a report from AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving last year.

Scams and frauds are rampant

About 70% of the nation’s total household net worth is controlled by people over 60, so they are frequently targets of both scam artists and their own family and friends. According to a June survey by the nonprofit Investor Protection Trust, half of Americans age 65 or older exhibit one or more warning signs of current financial victimization, like receiving phone calls by people asking for money. That means it’s not enough to keep your eye on your own finances—if your parents are getting older, it’s important to make sure they’re protected, too.

The good news: There are resources that can help

The federal Administration on Aging recently updated its toll-free phone service meant to serve as a first stop for information about local services for the elderly: 800-677-1116. Callers between 9 am and 8 pm EST on weekdays now get to talk to a human being. A related website, eldercare.gov, lets you enter your ZIP code or select the topic you’re interested in (e.g. “Alzheimer’s,” “Long-term care,” “elder abuse prevention”) and then directs you to general information and local agencies that can help. Other organizations that offer help include the nonprofit National Adult Protective Services Association, Investor Protection Trust (click “patient brochure”), and the North American Securities Administrators Association’s Senior Investor Resources Center.

Boomers, what specific issues are you facing? Share your stories here.

This post originally appeared on TheTakeaway.org.

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