Costs of care include emotional, physical & financial impacts
RICHMOND, VA (Nov. 13, 2018) – Caregivers in the United States are getting younger and continue to struggle with stress and depression, no matter what their age, according to Genworth’s Beyond Dollars Study 2018 released today. Genworth has conducted the Beyond Dollars Study about every three years since 2010 as part of its mission to help families prepare for the challenges of growing older. The study documents the emotional, physical and financial impact of caregiving on families beyond the cost of long term care services, which Genworth tracks in its annual Cost of Care Survey.
Among highlights of this year’s Beyond Dollars Study:
- Caregivers are getting younger: More than half (58 percent) of today’s caregivers are between the ages of 25 and 54, with an average age of 47, down from 53 in 2010.
- Care recipients are getting younger, too. Since 2010, when 62 percent were older than 75, the average age of the care recipients has been coming down. In 2018, the average age of care recipients was 66.
- Although age-related physical limitations (44 percent) and illness (32 percent) remain the primary reason people need care, accidents have been steadily increasing as a reason for needing care, jumping from 11 percent in 2010 to 21 percent in 2018.
- Most of the study respondents felt proud to be able to offer support and, in fact, 82 percent reported positive feelings resulting from providing care. However, the majority of caregivers surveyed (53 percent) reported feeling high levels of stress and more than a third (41 percent) reported feelings of depression and resentment. To compound matters, more than half (52 percent) of caregivers reported they did not feel qualified to provide physical care.
Unprepared For Caregiving
“Caregiving is a role that most people aren’t prepared to assume,” said David O’Leary, President and Chief Executive Officer of Genworth’s U.S. Life Insurance division. “It can exact an enormous physical and emotional toll, affecting relationships, careers and the caregivers’ own health, but it’s particularly acute for families who haven’t planned ahead for the potential of needing long term care. By calling attention to the impact of caregiving on families, we hope to encourage them to consider ‘what if’ long before a crisis arises and disrupts their lives.”
In addition to mental health issues, the Beyond Dollars Study found that caregiving can have an impact on other aspects of caregivers’ lives:
The stress of caregiving can put family caregivers’ health at risk: 46 percent of caregivers reported that a long term care event negatively affected their health and well-being
The time, energy, and resources devoted to caregiving can also detract from the ability of caregivers to care for their immediate families, according to the Beyond Dollars Study:
- Half (50 percent) of caregivers reported they have less time for their spouses, children and themselves
- 40 percent indicated their relationships with their spouse/partner was negatively impacted
- 29 percent said their relationship with their children was negatively affected
Caregiving often comes with significant financial costs. On average, caregivers spend $10,400 on out-of-pocket expenses, and most caregivers did not plan for the additional expenditures and the additional strain it put on their lives:
- 70 percent of caregivers purchased everyday items for their loved ones
- 61 percent of families helped to cover the cost of professional home care
- 48 percent of caregivers reported a reduction in their quality of life because of the added expense of paying for care
Half of respondents (50 percent) reported that their caregiving responsibilities also affected their careers:
- 70 percent of caregivers reported missed time at work
- 46 percent reported cutting back their hours
- 62 percent of caregivers said they lost income as a result of caregiving.
In the Beyond Dollars Study, 84 percent of caregivers and 75 percent of care recipients said they would have done things differently if given the chance. Not surprisingly, care recipients most often cited ‘planning better’ as the one thing they would do differently if they could turn back the clock.
“As difficult as it is to talk about the potential for needing care, it is incredibly important for families to start having those conversations with loved ones and making plans for the future,” said Janice Luvera, Genworth’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Planning well now helps ensure that people will receive the care they need, how and where they wish to receive it, and reduces the stress of caregiving for those who love them.”
Planning well in advance expands the choices available for care later as people grow older. Following are resources that can help with the planning process:
- Visit here to learn more about the cost of long term care in your area and how costs have changed over time.
- Learn more about the physical, financial, emotional, and psychological strain caregiving can have on family, friends, and society.
- Download Genworth’s Cost of Care App from iTunes or Google Play Store.
- To explore long term care financing options, please visit genworth.com/longtermcare
- Beyond traditional insurance products, an underwritten single premium immediate need annuity can be purchased by older, less healthy Americans or their families to provide a guaranteed lifetime source of income that can be used for any purpose including, to pay for care or other expenses. Learn more here: www.genworth.com/products/immediate-need-annuity.html.