Residential Elderly Care

The costs for residential elderly care have been growing steadily higher. Spending on Medicare benefits accounted for 21 percent of the nation’s total health care spending in 2010. With baby boomers retiring, and Medicare benefits changing, this percentage is expected to grow in the future. Americans spend approximately $140 billion on long-term care in the U.S., most of it on the elderly, and Medicaid picks up almost half of the cost. Even among large private firms, health care costs for older people have taken their toll with only one-third offering health benefits to their retirees today, compared with two-thirds of company’s over twenty years ago!

Recent studies on residential elderly care validate that although adult children are often responsible for paying for their elderly parent’s residential care, the large majority of caregivers are vastly unprepared. The survey found:

  • 63% of caregivers have no plan as to how they will pay for their parent’s care over the next five years.
  • 62% say the cost of caring for a parent has impacted their ability to plan for their own financial future.

With an estimated 34 million Americans providing care for older family members, the survey’s results indicate a financial crisis in the making.  Medicare only covers long-term care for a short time, and only under strict rules. Medigap insurance helps, but does not cover all costs. The burden of paying for long-term care often rests with the family.  Therefore, a caregivers’ lack of planning will negatively impact their own financial future.

Long-term care costs are not the only expenses caregivers are burdened with.  Family members are more and more responsible for financing and providing the actual care for an elderly parent or aging loved one.  This double-whammy has family members providing both hands-on care while having to reach into their own pockets to pay for many daily expenses, including groceries, household goods, drugs, medical co-payments and transportation.

These days it’s becoming evident that Americans who are already strapped for cash by the rising price of gas and food are unable to afford these additional expenses:

  • 34% spend $300 or more per month out of their own pocket for caregiving expenses.
  • 54%  have sacrificed spending money on themselves to pay for care of their parents.

Making matters worse, caring for aging parents often impacts adult children at their workplace as well. The same survey found:

  • 43% have had to take time off work due to caregiving responsibilities.
  • 48% say they are earning less money at work as a result of caregiving.
  • 25% have been fired or had to quit their job as a result of caregiving.

One survey respondent said, “I am unable to earn the income needed to continue caring for both of my parents in addition to my own family. I’ve not only given up my job, but my dreams, for now. It is very lonely and financially difficult. But I have to do what is right.”

And despite potentially making less money and paying out more in expenses, more than half of the caregivers surveyed are spending what equates to a full-time work week – 40 hours or more – on caregiving duties, many in addition to their full-time careers outside the home:

  • 53% of caregivers provide care 40 or more hours per week.
  • 37% provide care more than 80 hours per week.
  • 21% say they never get a break from caregiving.
  • 36% get a break of 5 hours or less a week.

The survey indicated that today’s caregivers face a triple financial threat: unplanned-for caregiving expenses, less money for their own needs and reduced time in the workplace.

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One Comment

  1. Posted May 25, 2011 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Residential Elderly Care is also important in caring about our elder. Some of us will get caregiver because they can’t care about their family. Thanks for this information.

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