The Cost of Family Caregiving: Out-of-Pocket Spending Surprisingly A Guest Post by Christina Ianzito
Our country’s 40 million unpaid family caregivers devote a large portion of their own money toward the care of their loved ones.
They’re spending an average of $6,954 a year — nearly 20 percent of their income — on out-of-pocket (OOP) costs related to caregiving, according to a new AARP study, “Family Caregiving and Out-of-Pocket Costs: 2016 Report.”
Hispanic/Latino and low-income family caregivers spend even more: an average of 44 percent of their total annual income.
And that’s on top of other financial strains many caregivers face, such as needing to cut back on work hours or take unpaid leave, says Nancy LeaMond, Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer at AARP. “The strain can be enormous and may put their own financial and retirement security at risk.” She adds that passing the bipartisan Credit for Caring Act, which provides a federal tax credit of up to $3,000, “would give some sorely needed financial relief to eligible family caregivers.”
AARP also supports the bipartisan Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act, which would require the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers.
Here are some striking findings from the new AARP report, which determined the amount of money that family caregivers spent over the last year:
- Family caregivers of all ages spend $6,954 in OOP costs related to caregiving on average.
- Family caregivers earning less than $32,500 are under significant financial strain, spending an average of 44 percent of their annual income on caregiving.
- Family caregivers for adults with dementia reported nearly twice the OOP costs ($10,697) than those caring for adults without dementia ($5,758).
- Hispanic/Latino family caregivers spend an average of $9,022, which represents 44 percent of their total income per year. By comparison, African American family caregivers spend $6,616, or 34 percent; white family caregivers spend $6,964, or 14 percent; and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders spend $2,935, or 9 percent.
- Long-distance family caregivers had the highest OOP costs at $11,923 compared with family caregivers living with or nearby their care recipients.
Family caregivers report dipping into savings, cutting back on personal spending, saving less for retirement or taking out loans to make ends meet. More than half of family caregivers reported a work-related strain, such as having to take unpaid time off.
Read the full report at www.aarp.org/caregivercosts.