The Hidden Costs of Caregiving | Five Star Senior Living

The Hidden Costs of Caregiving

  • August 12, 2016

If you’re weighing the decision of moving your aging loved one into a senior community or continuing to take care of them at home, it’s easy to compare the monthly rent in a senior community to your loved one’s monthly mortgage. In this flat-rate comparison, senior living may not look like a bargain.

If your loved one has paid off their home—or is living with you—it’s even worse. Their current living expenses may appear to be much lower than senior living.

But have you calculated the hidden costs of caregiving?

We’ve identified at least five areas where you’ll spend more as a caregiver.
5 Unexpected Costs of Family Caregiving
  1. Expenses of caring for your aging loved one
Caring for an aging loved one means another mouth to feed and body to clothe. Costs also add up for incidentals—personal hygiene items, doctor’s co-pays, and in-home care or respite stays at a senior community if you need a break, to name just a few.

In one poll, more than one-third of American caregivers say they allocate 26% of their monthly budget to caregiving costs.
  1. Costs of stress on the caregiver
Caregivers often suffer from sleep deprivation, weight loss or weight gain, and illnesses because their tired body doesn’t have the immunity it needs to fight off colds and other minor illnesses.

These hidden costs may affect the caregiver’s quality of life.  They could also result in additional doctor’s co-pays, over-the-counter or prescription medicines, or a loss in overall productivity.
  1. Loss of income
Caregivers often lose money because they have to take unpaid time off from work to fulfill caregiving duties. But this loss stretches further than a few paychecks. The average cost of lost wages and Social Security benefits totals $274,044 for female caregivers, according to a MetLife study.
  1. Loss of job skills or consecutive years in the work force
Caregiving may not only affect the caregiver’s current job, but future opportunities. Working caregivers may be passed up for promotions due to their time out of the office or a drop in productivity.

If a caregiver must quit her job, the hidden costs rise quickly: healthcare coverage, 401K retirement benefits, Social Security benefits and much more. Not to mention a resume gap that could make finding a job harder when she re-enters the workforce.
  1. Hiring additional help
For caregivers who decide they want to “do it all,”—raise a family, work outside the home and care for an aging parent, something has to give.

Caregivers are likely to shell out money to outsource tasks they were previously able to manage, such as landscaping, housekeeping, or even cooking.

If a family eats take-out food more frequently due to caregiving stress and time constraints, it could take a toll on the family’s health and budget.

Does Aging-in-Place Really Pay?

When you add up these hidden costs of caregiving, a senior community doesn’t look quite so expensive anymore. In addition, you and your loved one can both benefit from a better quality of life while enjoying the time you spend together.

The experts at Five Star Senior Living can help you identify ways to pay for the care your aging loved one needs.

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