Average Caregiver Costs Rise Above $300,000 for Elderly Loved Ones
Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) September 29, 2014 – As the population ages and the cost of hiring in-home care booms, many Americans are stepping into roles as caregivers for loved ones who are aging or have chronic illnesses. However, caregivers should recognize that caring for an older loved one themselves also has costs.
“Because the cost of providing care on your own does not appear on a single bill, it is easy to underestimate the real financial impact of caregiving,” said Andrew Hook, a Virginia attorney who specializes in the needs of seniors.
A growing number of Americans act as caregivers. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that nearly 40 percent of American adults are caregivers for someone with a health problem. That number is up from 30 percent in 2010. The average caregiver is a 49-year-old woman who provides nearly 20 weekly hours of care to her mother for almost five years, while still working outside the home.
Many caregivers take a financial hit because of their role. They often take time away from work to attend appointments, check on the loved one or run errands. Their general focus at work can also suffer, especially during periods when the family member’s condition is declining.
Some caregivers take a temporary absence from the workforce. As the family member’s condition worsens or if there is a gap before inpatient care is available, many people leave work for several weeks or months. People considering a leave of absence should consider the absence’s costs not just in terms of lost income, but also in terms of Social Security and other retirement benefits in the future.
On average, a female caregiver who leaves the workforce to care for a parent loses more than $324,000 in wages, Social Security benefits and pension benefits.