Study Reveals Top 5 Myths of Family Caregiving
November is Long Term Care Awareness Month: It’s Time to Have One of the Most Important Conversations Your Family Hasn’t Had
Americans significantly underestimate the impact that a family member’s long term care needs could have on their own lives, marriages, work commitments, financial stability and future financial security, finds a new landmark study, Our Family, Our Future: The Heart of Long Term Care Planning, sponsored by Genworth Financial (Genworth) and released today by Age Wave and Harris Interactive. The study, conducted online in September among 2,151 U.S. adults age 18 and over, sought to uncover the hopes, worries, and needs of family members providing care to loved ones.
An estimated 66 million Americans — or roughly 20 percent of the U.S. population — are serving as unpaid family caregivers. The research revealed that the actual impact of caregiving on this group is often significantly greater than expected, as evidenced by the following Top 5 Family Caregiving Myths and Misconceptions:
- Financial Contributions: While only 40 percent of caregivers expect they will contribute financially to the care of a family member, the reality is that 83 percent actually do.
- Income Hit: In actuality, 63 percent of caregivers experience a reduction in income. This compares to 38 percent of caregivers that expect to experience such a reduction.
- Reduction in Savings: 37 percent of caregivers expect their savings to decline as a result of their caregiving responsibilities. The study found that, in fact, 61 percent of caregivers have used some of their savings to care for a loved one.
- Retirement Funds Tapped: Of caregivers surveyed, 57 percent actually tapped their retirement funds to care for a loved one, compared to 34 percent that expected to do so.
- Career Impact: Nearly half (48 percent) of caregivers lost a job, changed shifts or missed out on career opportunities as a result of their caregiving responsibilities, compared to 29 percent that expected such impact.
“Not only do people underestimate the financial, emotional and other costs associated with providing care to a loved one, they greatly discount the likelihood that they themselves will need long term care in the future,” said Colleen Goldhammer, senior vice president, financial institutions distribution, at Genworth. “This disconnect can be potentially dangerous, as it may discourage people from developing their own comprehensive long term care plan.”
Source: Genworth Financial
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