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posted: May 31, 2009

Timely Tips

Timely Tip: The Brutal Personal Economics of Caregiving

Caregiving extracts a sometimes heavy financial toll on caregiving families, so much so that the effect is felt from day-to-day lifestyle to tomorrow’s retirement planning. In stark reality, these facts apply to hard-working family caring for aging loved ones:

"Women who are family caregivers are 2.5 times more likely than non-caregivers to live in poverty and five times more likely to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI)." 

         Source: Study conducted by researchers at Rice University and data compiled from the Health and Retirement Study funded by the National Institute of Aging and conducted by the University of Michigan, 1992-2004.

Caregiving families have median incomes that are more than 15% lower than non-caregiving families. In every state and DC, the poverty rate is higher among caregiving families than among families without. 

          Source: Disability and American Families: 2000, Census 2000 Special Reports, July 2005.

Out-of-pocket medical expenses for a caregiving family for someone who needs help with activities of daily living (eating, toileting, etc.) are more than 2.5 times greater (11.2% of income compared to 4.1%) than for a non-caregiving family. 

          Source: Drs. Altman, Cooper and Cunningham, "The Case of Disability in the Family: Impact on Health Care Utilization and Expenditures for Non-disabled Members," Milbank Quarterly 77 (1) pages 39 – 75, 1999.

In 2000, typical working family caregiver lost $109 per day in wages and health benefits due to the need to provide full time care at home. 

          Source: Stucki, B.R. and Mulvey, J., "Can Aging Baby Boomers Avoid the Nursing Home? Long-Term Care Insurance for Aging in Place." American Council of Life Insurers, March 2000.

For the full story on the personal cost of caregiving and its impact on retirement plans,read the feature article Caregiver Retirement: Can It Be a Reality, or Will It Fade Away? in the May 2009 issue of Caregiver’s Home Companion.

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