Elderly care costs challenging military families

In addition to all the other challenges the military face, many military households have to face an extra financial burden: caring for an elderly family member.

The First Command Financial Behaviors Index reveals that 36 percent of middle-class military families either care for or anticipate caring for a parent or other elderly family member. This compares to just 22 percent of the general population of middle-class families.

Many survey respondents are focused on in-home care (44 percent in their own home and 40 percent in the home of the elderly family member), but they also recognize the need to pay for other professional assistance, including home care service (30 percent), health care services (11 percent) and nursing home care (10 percent).

Providing elderly care is shaking the long-term financial confidence of these current and future caregivers: 31 percent are not confident in their ability to retire comfortably. That’s comparatively  worse than for the rest of middle-class service members as 22 percent say they aren’t confident.

Among those already caring for an aged relative, more than half say the cost of care is more than they expected. The Index reveals that just 16 percent of them have done any specific financial planning related to the cost of this care. And among this group, only one in four have turned to a financial advisor for help.

“As the ranks of older Americans continue to swell, many military families are not prepared for the economic reality of ensuring elderly care for their own family members,” says Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command. “These findings underscore the importance of providing meaningful financial planning support to our men and women in uniform as they prepare for the future care of their loved ones.”

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