Understanding Caregiving Costs
61.6 million Americans provide care for an older family member or friend1
Caregiving involves an investment of love, time, and money. If you don’t outline the associated costs of caregiving, you might be surprised by the amount of time and money that you’re spending.
- 42% of caregivers in one survey report having spent more than $5,000, more than 10% of their annual salary2,3
- Caregivers provide 1.4 billion trips per year for older adults who no longer drive4
- The most costly expenditures for caregivers are medical care co-pays and pharmaceuticals; household goods, food, and meals; and travel and transportation costs3
- Caregivers reported managing out-of-pocket expenses by cutting back on leisure activities, vacations or long-term savings strategies3
Striking the Right Balance
As caregivers increase expenditures to make their loved ones’ lives easier and more comfortable, their own finances often get overlooked. It’s not selfish to save for retirement, pay off credit cards, or schedule routine health care while caring for another. It is simply prudent.
Many caregivers undermine their own financial security3.
- 63% of the caregivers surveyed saved less for their own retirement
- 43% borrowed money or increased their level of credit card debt
- Many quit their jobs, reducing Social Security payments and their retirement income
The more money caregivers spent, the more difficulty they had gaining the emotional and physical resources they needed to be good caregivers3.
Budgets Provide Discipline
Your ability to care for your loved one depends on your ability to take a balanced, disciplined approach to your own financial management. As a caregiver, your best course of action is to seek a financial middle ground, finding a way to care for yourself as well as your loved one. Early planning is critical for decision making, followed by developing a household budget.
A budget will help you use your existing income more efficiently. You will become more conscious of those small financial decisions that can lead to a deficit over time. And, if you find that careful budgeting doesn’t relieve the financial pressure, you will have the facts and figures you need to make the case to siblings and friends for their support, as well as to pursue government programs that may offer assistance.
Ask your local Sunrise Senior Living community for information on Flexible Financial Options and potential tax benefits for senior care.
Sources: 1. Feinberg, Lynn; Reinhard, Susan C.; Houser, Ari; Choula, Rita. AARP Public Policy Institute. Valuing the Invaluable: 2011 Update The Growing Contributions and Costs of Family Caregiving. Accessed 20 November 2012. 2. Caring.com. Usage and Attitude Survey (Caring.com, February 2011). An online survey of family caregivers conducted in November 2010; 959 respondents. Accessed 20 November 2012. 3. Evercare® and National Alliance for Caregiving. (2007) Family Caregivers — What They Spend, What They Sacrifice. Accessed 16 November 2012. 4. AARP. Cost of Taking Care of Mom and Dad. Accessed 7 December 2012.