Taking care of an aging or ill family member has become a common part of life. Many families have members who are the caregivers and who may need help planning for their own retirement.

To help the caregivers avoid pitfalls in their own retirement, Celia Hayhoe, Virginia Cooperative Extension specialist in family financial management and assistant professor of apparel, housing, and resource management in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, has completed a workbook of general financial information entitled “What Every Adult Child Should Know—Protecting Your Retirement and Other Financial Information for Family Caregivers.”

This helpful guide, made possible with a grant from the National Endowment for Financial Education, is available at your local Virginia Cooperative Extension office. The workbook is available in print (cost is $20.50) or CD ($7) format and is accompanied by a video ($24 for all three).

To find the location and the operating hours of the office in your community, go to http://www.ext.vt.edu/offices/.

Hayhoe encourages families to talk before there is a crisis, and the instructional materials help families start conversations about the financial issues that maybe difficult. The program describes what to ask and what to get in writing and how caregivers can plan for their own financial well-being if they need to work part time or leave the work force.

“It is not legal advice. It is basic information,” Hayhoe said. The information suggests the type of professional advice the family needs to get such as when to talk with a tax adviser, a financial accountant, or someone with medical advice.”

Hayhoe’s program uses a video that sets the scene, as one technique to help families. The video gives the audience a dramatic portrayal of how to start sensitive conversations.

The program also offers suggested forms designed to get the information about the care receivers and the caregivers in a place to be shared by everyone involved. For example, there are forms to list bank, brokerage, and retirement accounts, credit card and loan accounts, a household budget, locations of important documents, and lists of medications.

Virginia Cooperative Extension provides research based information to the people of the Commonwealth through 107 county extension offices, six 4-H educational centers, and 13 Agricultural Research and Extension Centers.