At any point, we have 10 million adult children caring for older parents across the country. According to a report from Indiana University, this level of unpaid care that is being provided is estimated to be worth $375 billion per year.
Despite the fact that most caregivers offer help because of duty and love, cost is also a part of the equation for many. Many caregivers believe that professional senior care is too expensive, and that caring for elderly patients may be more affordable.
The problem is that this is often a miscalculation. Before offering fulltime care giving for an aging loved one, it is important to look at all the facts. Oftentimes people only look at the amount of money that they expect to pay a senior living facility. The costs that we mention here need to be factored in as well. We like to call them the hidden costs of caregiving.
Before we begin, it is important to note that it is not only the caregiver who endures the brunt of the costs of caregiving. It also affects the American economy. Employees’ need to care for aging loved ones costs American businesses an estimated $34 billion each year according to MetLife.
Lost savings and retirement
Caregivers often have out of pocket expenditures, and these can truly add up. According to a study from the National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare, almost half (47 percent) of all working caregivers have used up most or all of their savings. This will not only reduce your social security benefit, but also ensure that you have a more difficult time maintaining your retirement funds and savings.
Increased health care costs
Caregiving for a loved one is taxing, both mentally and physically. Studies reveal that non-caregivers have better emotional and physical health than caregivers do. According to a study from the Center of Aging, 10 percent of family caregivers suggest that taking on that role caused a decline in their own health. This means that there are increased healthcare costs for family caregivers.
If you leave the workforce for months or years on end, you will find that it is challenging to find another job once you stop as a caregiver. Given the fact that we have an extremely competitive labor market because of the high unemployment rate, it should make the challenge especially difficult.
There is a reason that long-term care facilities offer 24/7 care, because it takes a great deal of time and effort to look after someone around the clock. This is why family caregivers often retire early, reduce their hours, or leave their job altogether.
There are no easy solutions to this problem. However, it should be obvious that it warrants reevaluating the concept of family caregiving versus professional caregiving.