Caregivers Face Financial Hardships
According to the AARP “Caregiving in the U.S. 2020” report, one in five caregivers experiences a significant amount of financial hardship. While all caregivers face financial hardships, the effect is worse for some than others. The survey found the following trends from the data collected.
- Caring for adults aged 18-49 costs more than providing care to other aged groups.
- Younger caregivers have greater financial difficulties than older caregivers due to smaller savings accounts and assets to sell to cover expenses.
- Caregivers who take care of a spouse/partner, child, or sibling have a greater financial strain since their income helps support the home in addition to covering care expenses than those who care for a parent /in-law or non-relative who have separate financial backing for home and other personal care items.
Caregiving Expenses Paid Out-of-Pocket
Caregivers spend a lot of their own money providing for their family member’s care. Unfortunately, the extra expense causes a reduction in savings and possible loss of funding for vacations, future homes, or retirement. As a result, many take out loans, borrow money, mortgage or downsize homes, or sell possessions to cope.
Credit Ratings Impacted
Since options to find money to cover debt usually dry up after a while, late, or non-payments cause caregivers to lose property or face bankruptcy. Ruined financial reputations and credit ratings follow them around for years. Some try to work second or even third jobs, but as the economy took a nosedive and COVID spiraled upward, finding a job that pays benefits and allows time off to care for a sick child is difficult.
Work Hours Altered or Reduced
- Across the country, 61% of caregivers try to work full time while providing, on average, anywhere from 20-36 hours of caregiving duties per week.
- In Virginia, 64% percent of the state’s one million caregivers report working while caring for a family member.
- 75% (3/4) of Virginia’s working caregivers needed to adjust their weekly or monthly work schedules by going in early or late or taking time off to provide care.
- 33% (1/3) took a leave of absence to provide care, and
- 66% (2/3) needed to go so far as to reduce their total work hours altogether or stop working entirely, thus creating a significant financial hardship.
Costly Home or Vehicle Modification
Little financial assistance is available to help the 40% of Virginia caregivers make necessary changes to their homes. For 1/7 of Virginia caregivers, modifications are not enough, and moving becomes necessary to find a suitable home to meet both the caregiver and care recipient requirements.
Furthermore, 60% (6/10) report using their own money to cover expenses not paid by insurance for costs related to prescription drugs, medical supplies, transportation, skilled or companion services, assistive technology, homemaker services, modifications to home or vehicles, etc. Caregiving is an expensive business.
Family Caregiving in Virginia: A Survey of Registered Voters Ages 40 and Older (aarp.org)