In a recent report from Caring.com, the expense of caregiving has been illuminated with shocking figures. The report showed that a little under half (46%) of family caregivers polled said they spent more than $5,000 annually on caregiving expenses.
For clarification, caregivers are defined by law as someone who takes care of a family member or friend but is unpaid for those services. These include out-of-pocket expenses like medication, medical bills, in-home care, nursing home facility costs, and much more.
Of those polled, about 16% spend roughly $5,000 to $9,999; 11% spend from $10,000 to $19,999; 7% spend $20,000 to $29,999; 5% spend $30,000 to $49,999 and 7% spend more than $50,000 annually. Moreover, 21% have no idea how much they spend on caregiving.
What is clear, according to Andy Cohen, CEO of Caring.com, is that “Caregiving can be a startlingly expensive endeavor that most people aren’t financially prepared for … yet only three in 10 caregivers have spoken to their loved ones about how to pay for care.” His advice? “[Have] an open and honest conversation about finances, [it’s] sensitive, but [it’s a] necessary discussion to have.
Caregivers find not only find their wallets strapped, but their time. Providing care for a family member or friend in need can affect the caregiver’s current employment and eventual retirement plans. Caring.com reported that one-third of all family caregivers spend more than 30 hours a week providing care, which is just shy of the hourly equivalent of another full-time job.
About 50% of caregivers polled said that they must change their current work schedule to accommodate their caregiving responsibilities, and it’s had a negative effect on their job performance: 30% have said that they arrive at work late, and 17% say they have missed a significant amount of work.
For more on this topic, stay tuned for our October 2014 wealth issue. We’ll be offering tips and tools for the sandwich generation.