Toll of Caring for Elderly Increases
By KELLY GREENE
A steep rise in people caring for elderly parents is taking a toll on the health and finances of many baby boomers, a new study says.
Older caregivers who work and provide care to a parent at the same time are more likely than other workers in their age group to report poor health, with problems including depression and chronic disease. There is evidence they “experience considerable health issues as a result of their focus on caring for others,” the report says.
The percentage of adult children taking care of their parents has tripled since 1994, with nearly 10 million people who are 50 and older doing so in 2008, according to a new analysis of the U.S. Health and Retirement Study, a bank of economic and health data on people over age 50 that was collected by the University of Michigan. The sample contained 1,112 people age 50-plus with at least one living parent.
The financial toll on care providers who are 50 or older averages $303,880 per person in lost wages, pensions and Social Security benefits over their lifetime, due to leaving the work force early to care for a parent, according to the study. For women, the cost is higher: $324,044, with $142,693 in lost wages, $131,351 in lost Social Security benefits, and $50,000 in lost pension benefits or matching contributions to defined-benefit plans.
The study “points out the importance of considering what caregiving does to your financial security,” says Sandra Timmermann, director of MetLife Mature Market Institute, a research unit of MetLife Inc. that conducted the study with the National Alliance for Caregiving and New York Medical College’s Center for Long-Term-Care Research and Policy. “These were all people over 50, and these are their highest-earning years. They don’t have a lot of time to catch up.”
Andelcare provides premier caregiving in Seattle, Bellevue and surrounding areas. For more information about how Andelcare can help your family care for a loved one, call 888-788-3051. We provide companionship, homemaking and personal home care services for many seniors, veterans and disabled in our community.