A new study shows an increasing cost of taking care of ailing loved ones at home.
Caregivers are spending an average of $5,500 dollars per year of their own money for taking care of their aging parent or sick family member. That's more than 10% of their income.
"Things like food and meals, household goods, travel, medical co-pays, prescriptions drugs, they're helping with all of those different costs, but we're also looking at what they're sacrificing."
Sherri Snelling, Director of Caregiver Services for Evercare , says caregivers suffer not only financially, but also emotionally and physically. The Evercare Study is the first in-depth look at the out-of-pocket costs that family caregivers are incurring.
"We know now from the survey that 34% are using their own savings in order to cover these costs and two out of 10 are cutting back on their own health care. So they're not going to their doctor, not seeing their dentists regularly, and this of course puts their own future – both financial as well as physical and emotional – at risk."
Many caregivers are caught between a rock and a hard place. Although it costs a lot to care for a loved one, it's even more expensive at a nursing home or assisted living. Snelling says the key is preventive health care. Also, government is being urged to help family caregivers with tax credits or deductions.
NOTE: Nationwide, there are more than 34-million people taking care of someone aged 50 or older. The study was conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving.