The economics of caregiving

The economics of caregiving

c2c_classifiedsAn issue for our community is that unpaid family caregivers impact the economy. Here’s what I’ve seen for sons and daughters taking care of an elderly parent –

 

  • Lost productivity at work. Personal time off and the distractions of caregiving interfere with what an employee can get done at work.
  • Caregivers have to leave the workforce to take care of a loved one full time. This means less discretionary spending, less income tax paid, and no retirement saved. You work harder as a caregiver and don’t get paid for it.
  • Budgets and life style turn upside down. No more vacations, weekend get-aways, or golf days. Caregivers have co-pays and pharmacy bills that now include adult diapers, groceries that now include Ensure, extra manis and pedis to take care of Dad’s feet, and other expenses that come with surprising price tags.
  • Other expenses include home care agencies, transportation like airfare and more gas, adult day care, co-pays, house keeping and the clincher: legal services, tax services, insurance and investment advisors. I estimate about 49 hours of phone calls.
  • Phone calls. Your minutes are going to explode with calls and texts to family members to coordinate where Mom is going to live, scheduling shifts, arguing about Trusts and Wills. Then it grows from there to doctors, government agencies like Medicare, Social Security, the VA, to neighbors and friends who can help out somehow.
  • Help – yes, you will need as many friends and neighbors to help out and even more so to keep you sane. The stress, grief and guilt will tilt a caregiver’s reality. The economy of this is depression.
  • Depression is a rising health crisis that is very expensive to our economy.   Check the price of some anti-depressants at over $1000 retail. It’s depressing.

 

And so it goes. What economics of caregiving have you seen? Did you discover any free or easy alternatives? Tell us what you think at danny.howard@caretocaregiver.org

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