Examining the True Costs of Caregiving

Examining the True Costs of CaregivingAccording to a Pew Research Center study, almost 40% of American adults are caring for an adult or child with chronic health issues – an increase of 10% in just the past five years. The study found that these adult caregivers can be found across all demographic groups, but are especially prevalent in the 30-64 age group – a group that is usually still in the workforce.

Another study from the AARP found that the average caregiver is a 49-year-old female who works outside the home and spends approximately 20 hours per week caring for her mother. She will do this for nearly five years.

During that time, if she has to leave her paid job, she will lose more than $324,000 in earnings, Social Security and pension benefits over her lifetime, according to a MetLife study which also found that:

  • Nearly 10 million adult children over the age of 50 care for their aging parents.
  • The total estimated aggregate lost wages, pension, and Social Security benefits of these caregivers of parents are nearly $3 trillion.
  • Overall, caregiving sons and daughters provide comparable care in many respects, but daughters are more likely to provide basic care and sons are more likely to provide financial assistance.

Beyond the financial cost of caregiving is the cost to the health of caregivers themselves, with a majority more likely to report poor health than their peers who do not provide caregiving.

Caregivers should consider the following when making decisions on how to handle care for a family member:

Medicare coverage of home health care — Medicare covers home health care only in limited circumstances (such as following discharge from a hospital) and generally not for an extended period of time.

Long-term care insurance coverage – if your family member has long-term care insurance, it will usually cover in-home health care, but policies are costly.

Medicaid coverage of home health care – Medicaid will cover in-home care but has strict eligibility requirements, including a very low income threshold.

Our experienced and trusted estate planning attorneys have been serving Treasure Coast families for decades, and Michael Fowler is one of only four Treasure Coast attorneys who is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Elder Law. Contact us for your initial consultation at one of our conveniently located offices in Fort Pierce, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, and Okeechobee.