When most people think of aging and health, they often think of the person whose health is declining. However, the caregiver is an often-overlooked person. Caregivers put their all into making sure that their loved ones are taken care of. Their own mental, emotional, and physical health may suffer for it. In order to plan for your or your loved one’s aging, it is important to understand what happens when loved ones are the caregivers.
Statistics of Aging and Caregivers
Genworth, a company that focuses on long term financial solutions, has done significant work on aging and financial wellness. This work also involves focusing on the lives of caregivers. Genworth found that a little more than half of caregivers are between the ages of 25-54. They also found that 52% of caregivers did not feel qualified to provide physical care. Additionally, caregivers have lives of their own that are demanding. For example, over half of caregivers have children under the age of 18. About 70% of caregivers missed some work in order to provide care. They estimate that the total out-of-pocket expense incurred by caregivers was $10,423. Obviously, caregivers suffer strain on the health, finances, and careers.
Caregiving and its Impact on Health and Well-being
Genworth found that 53% of caregivers reported high levels of stress. Many caregivers, suffered additional side effects. They found that 46% reported that caregiving had a negative impact on health and well-being. Additionally, 41% reported depression, mood swings, and resentment. Negative consequences affected other parts of their life, such as the 40% of caregivers who reported a negative impact with the spouse/partner.
Caregiving and Financial Impact
Caregiving often involves helping the recipients with their finances. Professional care, including both in and outside of the hospital, can be very expensive. Often, caregivers shoulder some of these burdens. Genworth found that 70% of caregivers reported purchasing items for their loved one’s daily living. They also found that 61% of families help to cover the cost of hiring at-home professional care.
These costs have very real consequences for caregivers. About 63% of caregivers reported using their own savings/retirement funds in order to provide assistance. Almost half reported that providing out-of-pocket financial assistance reduced their base quality of living. A whopping 35% have even had to sell personal possessions in order to pay for care for the recipient.
Timing of Caregiving
Caregivers spend a considerable amount of time providing that labor. On average, familial caregivers can spend up to 21 hours a week providing care. As stated above, over half of these caregivers have children under the age of 18, meaning they are being pulled in multiple directions.
All of this time can also interfere with their career development. While some companies recognize that their employees may need time off to care for families, not all caregivers are so lucky. About 46% of caregivers reported reducing their work hours, which is a decrease from 52% in 2015.
Planning in Order to Minimize Stress
Given the stresses that caregivers experience, it is important to plan ahead. Finances are a major part of planning. Genworth found that 70% of recipients reported that they had only their family to rely on, often meaning that they did not have the wealth to hire other caregivers. Genworth also found that over 75% of caregivers and recipients would have done things differently had they known. A long-term plan, like an insurance policy or financial plan, can help open up different options to both caregivers and recipients.
While talking about care, finances, and medical planning with your family can seem awkward and daunting, it is important in order to plan for different challenges. Understanding the costs of caregiving can help guide you and your family to the best solution for you all. At the Anti-Aging and Wellness Clinic, we can help counsel you through these many tough conversations and decisions. Contact us to learn more today.