Americans who care for a parent with Alzheimer’s disease or another memory disorder carry not only emotional burdens but also a stealthily high financial burden, according to the results of a new survey of caregivers. This is especially true for women.
The lifetime cost of dementia care can exceed $ 750,000 in direct and indirect expenses, making it financially devastating for many, according to research from RBC Wealth Management and Aon. The survey of 1,000 wealthy, high net worth caregivers of cognitive decline in the United States also found that making financial sacrifices, such as reducing working hours or leaving the workforce entirely, can disrupt women’s careers and cost them about $ 35,000 in annual income.
Caregivers also see a cash outlay each month to support the patient’s daily expenses or other needs, totaling nearly $ 750 per month on average. When someone hits a major drop, their monthly contributions are estimated at $ 1,200, RBC said.
An estimated 5.8 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other memory disorders. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, this figure is expected to double by 2040 as the population ages. This has serious financial implications for caregivers, particularly women, who typically start giving care at an early stage after diagnosis and carry more of the overall care burden than men.
“This disproportionately affects women, who tend to be the first caretakers and into it for the long haul. It affects livelihoods and careers, “says Angie O’Leary, head of wealth planning for RBC Wealth Management.” If you’re in the middle of the caregiver, you probably wouldn’t accept that promotion. you’re saving nothing or enough for retirement. And shorter working hours can affect your health insurance. “
The loss of income also has a multiplier effect for caregivers, who suffer not only the loss of income due to the reduction in working hours, but also future economic difficulties such as reduced social security benefits, 401 contributions ( k) and employer’s pension fund matches, RBC said.
Forty-four percent of the women who care for them have adapted their work patterns, including leaving the workforce or early retirement. For 1 in 8 carers, the time commitment is 160 hours per month, the equivalent of a full-time job, RBC said.
Another finding from CBR research was that 80% of respondents reported some level of financial mismanagement on the part of the patient, such as unpaid bills, unusual expenses, unopened statements, and even signs of financial fraud or abuse.
The caregiver during the pandemic adds another layer of complications, O’Leary says.
“There are two sides to this. Nursing home statistics make people nervous about placing a family member in a nursing facility right now. People care for people with dementia for much longer in their own homes, “O’Leary says.” The pandemic’s work-from-home phenomenon, on the other hand, can offer more flexibility at work. But if you do part of the sandwich generation with young children at home, I can’t imagine the stress. “
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