Past estimates of out-of-pocket costs related to caring for an aging or ailing parent or spouse underestimate reality, according to a study released today.
Turns out, in order to take care of aging loved ones, caregivers shell out an average of $8,728 a year, or roughly 10 percent of their household income—more than the average American household spends on health care and entertainment combined.
The National Alliance for Caregiving, a research and policy group, and Evercare, a division of the UnitedHealth Group, a long-term care specialist, conducted the study which was done over the phone with 1,000 adults caring for a person 50 years or older who needs help with day-to-day activities like using the bathroom.
The most common expenses for caregivers are household goods and food (42 percent of respondents), transportation (39 percent), medical co-payments and pharmaceuticals (31 percent), clothing (21 percent), and home repair or maintenance (13 percent).
How to pay for those things? Most respondents said they cut back on discretionary spending: reducing spending on leisure activities (49 percent), vacations (47 percent) and postponing major purchases or home improvements (34 percent).
View the study results at Evercare online.