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As if being a family caregiver isn't stressful enough, the role also comes with a heavy financial burden.
Nearly all family caregivers – 92 percent – are also financial caregivers, says a new report, “The Journey of Caregiving,” by Merrill Lynch/Age Wave, a research firm focused on aging. The report was based on a survey of more than 2,000 nonprofessionals who cared for adults over the past three years.
Family caregivers provide more than 95 percent of nonprofessional care to older adults who don’t live in nursing homes, and few are financially prepared for the tasks they perform.
They are either financial coordinators – 88 percent – who manage bills and investments and file taxes, or they are financial contributors – 68 percent – who provide money. And 64 percent are both.
The survey found that discussing money with care recipients was practically taboo, perhaps because the person they are caring for is seriously ill or because the recipient “lacks the mental acuity” to discuss finances.
On average, caregivers spend $7,000 a year on caregiving expenses, with many contributing far more. Collectively, caregivers spend about $190 billion per year for their care recipients. And 66 percent of caregivers say they could benefit from financial advice.