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Caring for an elderly relative isn't just costly and time-consuming but could even be harmful to your own health. Some companies and nonprofits are rolling out free and low-cost professional help for family caregivers. The bottom line is that "families need help keeping their loved one safe and mentally engaged and stimulated, and managing difficult behaviors."
The financial toll on family caregivers who are 50 or older averages $303,880 a person in lost lifetime wages, pensions and Social Security benefits, according to a June 2011 analysis of U.S. Heath and Retirement Study data by the nonprofit National Alliance for Caregiving and others.
The toll on one's health also can be significant. Taking care of a family member with Alzheimer's disease could make your own health-care bills increase by an average of $4,766 a year, according to a separate study that the National Alliance for Caregiving released in November. It also found that family caregivers make visits to emergency rooms, doctors and hospitals at higher rates than others the same age.
More than 43 million Americans serve as unpaid caregivers for adults who are 50 and older, and nearly one in four say they have a difficult time coordinating care.
Good News: The U.S. Tax Court ruled last year that in-home personal care can qualify as a deductible long-term-care expense if it is prescribed by a doctor for a person who meets the definition of "chronically ill." Taxpayers generally can deduct such costs as medical expenses if they exceed 7.5% of their adjusted gross income.
View more information from Marc J. Soss at http://www.fl-estateplanning.com/ and http://info.fl-estateplanning.com/
Marc Soss' practice focuses on estate and tax planning; probate and trust administration and litigation; guardianship law; and corporate law in Southwest Florida. Marc is a frequent contributor to LISI and has published articles and been quoted in the Florida Bar, Rhode Island Bar, North Carolina Bar, Association of the United States Navy, Lawyers USA, Military.Com, Forbes.Com, and CNN Business. Marc also serves as an officer in the United States Naval Reserve.
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