Caregiving for an elderly relative is something that the majority of Americans think they will eventually have to do. However, most are not prepared for how much it could cost them.
In a recent survey, 40% of American's responded that they are caregivers and another 20% reported that they believe they will have to step into a caregiving role. That such a large number of Americans serve as caregivers, should be a wake-up call of sorts because most people are not aware of or adequately prepared to deal with the financial costs of caregiving.
Only 25% of the people who expect to become caregivers thought that financial support would be an important aspect of giving care. However, 64% of the people who are caregivers now report having to support the elderly person financially to some degree or another. Total caregiving expenses amounted to about one-third of caregivers' budgets.
Financial Advisor reported on this survey in "Caregiving Costs Higher Than You Probably Think."
The high costs of caregiving and often the need for it in the first place arise out of a lack of planning. Too many Americans do not adequately plan for their elder years and they do not have a plan for how to pay for long-term care in a nursing home. This lack of planning means they either must rely on their families or the government to provide for their care.
Since caregivers have to spend as much as they do on their elderly relatives, this creates an unfortunate cycle where the caregiver will need financial support, when he or she gets older.
The costs of caregiving have not received a lot of attention from lawmakers, but it is an important elder law issue that needs to be addressed, especially since so many Americans are now acting as caregivers.
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Reference: Financial Advisor (Feb. 8, 2017) "Caregiving Costs Higher Than You Probably Think."