You care for your aging parents from a place of love, duty and family commitment. You don’t question your caregiver role, but it can be stressful if you don’t have the support and assistance you need. The hidden costs of caregiving include financial costs, career sacrifices and the risks to your own health and well-being. However, there are ways to mitigate those impacts.
Financial Costs of Caring for Older Adults
You’re not alone in caring for family members. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving & AARP, about 20 % of Americans are caregivers. That translates to more than 53 million Americans serving in caregiver roles. About 61% of those caregivers are also working, which adds even more stress to their situation.
When caring for a loved one at home, you might see an increase in expenses across the board. Medical supplies and medications are a major expense. According to a 2018 study by Northwestern Mutual, medicine and medical supplies cost an average of $273 per month. With the current rate of inflation, that number is now well over $300 per month for routine care.
The financial costs often cut much deeper, plunging caregivers into debt. Today’s caregivers can range in age from their 40s to their late 60s. Especially for older caregivers, adding debt to their budget can be hard to overcome before their own retirement. One recent study about caregivers reveals 28% stopped saving, 23% took on more debt, and 22% exhausted their savings. Looking for a solution before you find yourself in this type of situation is critical.
Career Costs for Caregivers
All of these increased costs come at a time when you might have to reduce your work hours to spend more time with your loved one. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving & AARP report, 6 in 10 caregivers have experienced a significant impact to their employment situation as a result of caregiving. This might include going into work late, leaving early or taking unpaid time off.
This can lead to the loss of potential promotions, a reduction in retirement savings and even lower Social Security benefits for your own retirement.
Caregiving can Impact Your Health and Well-Being
Along with the obvious financial costs, you might also find yourself feeling overwhelmed, tired, anxious or depressed. The Family Caregiver Alliance reports between 40% and 70% of caregivers experience significant depression. Common frustrations include high levels of stress and feelings of helplessness, guilt and exhaustion. This puts you at risk for serious illness, and it’s not uncommon to neglect your own healthcare as you focus on your parents. And an Ohio State University and National Institute on Aging study found adult caregivers can see their own life shortened by up to eight years.
Fellowship Freedom Plans are the Solution
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed, you don’t have to go it alone. There is a solution. Fellowship Freedom Plans can put your mind at ease and help preserve your assets. Our plans cost less than traditional long-term care insurance and allow your loved ones to age in place at home. We’ll handle the care part of the equation so you can worry less.
In the National Alliance for Caregiving report, 26% of family caregivers indicated they find it difficult to coordinate care for their loved ones. Now, with Fellowship Freedom Plans, you work directly with a personal care coordinator who is available 24/7 to connect your loved one with vetted services, answer any questions you may have and act as your parent’s healthcare advocate.
If you’d like to discover more about why Fellowship Freedom Plans are the smart choice, call us today at 908-580-3850 to discuss which plan is right for you.