Families Find Caregiving Comes With Startling Expenses

Nearly half of family caregivers spend more than $5,000 per year on caregiving, impacting their finances as well as current employment and future retirement plans, a new study shows. 

Of the 46% of family caregivers that spend more than $5,000 annually, 30% spend more than $10,000 each year, according to Caring.com’s latest “Usage and Attitudes” survey. 

“Caregiving can be a startlingly expensive endeavor that most people aren’t financially prepared for,” said Caring.com CEO Andy Cohen in a written statement. “But yet only three in 10 caregivers have spoken to their loved ones about how to pay for care. Having an open and honest conversation about finances is a sensitive, but necessary discussion to have.”

Expenses for family caregivers include out-of-pocket costs for medications, medical bills, in-home care, nursing homes and more. These expenses, along with the time spent giving care, can have some serious negative effects on work and retirement plans, the study notes. 

One-third of family caregivers spend more than 30 hours per week on caregiving, making it almost the equivalent to a full-time job. Half of caregivers have made changes to their work schedule to accommodate caregiving, while 30% often arrived late or left early and 17% missed a significant amount of work.

Overall, 60% of caregivers reported their caregiving duties had a negative effect on their job. 

“Family caregivers, especially baby boomers, run the risk of derailing their retirement plans if they don’t prepare for the costs associated with caregiving,” Cohen said. “Almost half of caregivers spend $25,000 on caregiving in just five years – that’s a significant chunk of money that could delay retirement by a couple of years.”

The study also showed additional findings, including the patients’ living situations. 

One-fifth of people being cared for lived in assisted living communities, nursing homes or other living communities. With regard to those in senior living facilities, for 43% of family caregivers, deciding on a senior care or senior housing option took only a month, but for 21%, the decision process took six months or more. 

Written by Emily Study

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