This new report released by the well known special interest and lobbying organization AARP may not be what you would expect.
According to the survey of just over 1,800 family caregivers, spending on out-of-pocket (OOP) expenses averaged $6,954 dollars over a one year period. The new AARP Research Report, “Family Caregiving and Out-of-Pocket Costs: 2016 Report” stated that caregivers may be putting “their own economic and retirement security at risk” by stepping up to help a loved one.
In addition, the report also found that family caregivers of adults with dementia had nearly twice the OOP costs ($10,697) than those caring for adults without dementia.
Family caregivers stated they were dipping into savings, cutting back on personal spending, saving less for retirement, or taking out loans to pay for the cost of care. And most said they experienced a work-related strain such as having to take unpaid time off.
Do these numbers surprise you? With well over 34 million unpaid caregivers in the U.S., one may wonder about the accuracy of the findings (only 1,864 caregivers participated in the survey). After talking to some here at PAL Caregivers, many feel the reported cost of family caregiving is understated and the report is unrealistic. Regardless of the motives of AARP for publishing this information, many feel that the time for a National Plan for Long-Term Care Insurance is now.
With an estimated 21% of households in the United States dealing with the cost of family caregiving and many putting “their own economic and retirement security at risk”, the issue of the Cost of Caregiving must be addressed.
Let us know what you think and what kind of help family caregivers need now. We encourage your comments.
Editors Note: AARP, Inc., formerly the American Association of Retired Persons, is a United States-based interest group with a membership founded in 1958 by Ethel Percy Andrus, Ph.D., a retired educator from California, and Leonard Davis, later the founder of the Colonial Penn Group of insurance companies
Read the full AARP report Here: Family Caregiving and Out-of-Pocket Costs: 2016 Report
PAL Caregivers is a unique website designed for both Family and Professional Caregivers
Unlike other websites that focus on one type of caregiving, we believe that a site devoted to both Professional and Family caregivers allows each a chance to see what is important to the other. This leads to better understanding and overall better care for the ones we are charged with helping.
Having been on both sides of the fence so to speak, gives our team a unique look at the problems and challenges facing both family and professional caregivers.
It is our desire to provide helpful information, support and understanding to our members. We will be pulling together in one place information which we believe you will find useful. And welcome your input as we move along.
Here are some of the things to look forward to:
Information and resources for both Professional and Family caregivers.
News relating to caregiving and elder issues.
Forums for caregivers to share ideas and concerns about assisting family and clients.
Regular updates to our blogger pages.
Please join us as we travel this journey together, laughing, crying and sharing along the way. We welcome you as a member of our caregiving family! -k2
You can still visit Ruth Anne's current blog here:
Ruth Annes PAL blog.
Thank you for visiting today,
Be sure to stop by often to see our daily updates and additions !
When my aunt was getting up in years it became apparent that living alone in her house was no longer a good thing. She was not really sick, it was more of a financial burden for her to keep her house and the neighborhood she lived in was getting to be more dangerous for someone living alone. With the help of my mother the decision was made for her to move into a subsidized senior apartment building. She did not have a large house, but still it was a big downsize for her.
I was young at the time and so I volunteered to help her go through everything and I do mean everything in her house so she could pack up what she wanted to take and say good by to the rest.
Thank heavens I was a patient person. I remember going room by room, drawer by drawer, closet by closet sorting and sorting every scrap of paper, every plastic bag every stack of paper, I thought it would never end.
So here’s the thing. Older folks and probably many younger ones too collect a lot of Stuff. When we live in the same place for any length of time we, like birds fill our nests with thousands of bits and pieces of STUFF. Whether it’s books, papers, clothes, nick knacks, food, whatever we have lots of STUFF! This holds true for the majority of the population with the exception of those who are minimalists like my sister in law ( she does not even have a junk drawer ) who doesn’t have a junk drawer or 10?
For those of us who are younger, when we decide to move what do we do? We load up dozens and dozens of boxes with all our STUFF! We don’t take time to sort it all out ( at least most don’t ) we just shove it in a box label it “Office” and load it on the van, only to be unloaded at our new digs and shoved back in the drawers from whence it came. And so the process goes each time we move from the time we leave our parents home till the time we find ourselves old and have to relocate to a smaller nest.
Now you see this move is not like the others. We cannot take all our STUFF with us. But how do we decide? Our nest has been so comfortable for so long, how will we live without ALL our STUFF? It’s hard let me tell you. And the older you are the harder it is. I worked with my aunt helping her sort through her stuff for over a month. Some days it was painstakingly slow. We would perhaps get through only a dresser or a closet. I watched as she handled each and every item she owned and had to make the choice, take or abandon. I could see how hard it was for her. Things that I thought were meaningless seemed so important to her. In my heart I knew I had to let her make the decisions and could not rush her to much. We finally got through everything in the house and boxed up the things she was taking with her only to find, it was to much. So we had to pare it down a bit more. The move went smoothly and soon she was settled in her new nest surrounded by the things she has chosen as most important to her. She lived in that apartment for several years until the time came when she had to move to a nursing home. This move was very different as she had developed dementia and so now it was my mother and I deciding what she could take. That was very hard, but in the end we chose the things we thought would bring her a sense of home, photos, a favorite clock, a little purse to keep some odds and ends in. I think we chose wisely, she seemed happy and this move meant getting rid of most of her stuff, that was a sad day.
In the end I learned some very valuable lessons.
Giving up our STUFF is hard and with all the other things older folks may have already lost like their independence, their home, their car, their health, and now this….it only adds to their pain.
Downsizing before you are forced to do so is a good thing. Perhaps we should all take a look around as I am right now. Look at all the STUFF we have. Do I need to thin it out a bit? Maybe 5 junk drawers is enough instead of 10 or maybe pare it down to 1!
In the end things aren’t what mean the most in life. I know it’s cliché but family, friends, relationships that is what matters in life, all the rest is just fluff.
So if you are helping a parent or another loved one or friend downsize be patient. Stop and think “what if it were me” how would I feel about emptying out my nest . That will help you help them though this very tough and often painful process.
Have you helped someone downsize? I’d love to hear about your experience and how you survived the process. We are on this journey together and learn from each other so please feel free to share.
Until Next Time
I am hoping by this blog to share with all of you the experiences, joys, trials, and triumphs I have had as both a family and professional caregiver.
As far back as my late teens ( won’t say just how FAR back that was ) I have been helping and caring for seniors in one form or another. My spirit has always been drawn to others, I feel a strong desire to help people. That is what makes caregiving so rewarding for me.
I think my first experience with caregiving was when my then to be mother in law was seriously ill. I remember caring for her so my father in law could go to work. I was 18 at the time. I knew so little about caregiving then, but one thing I did know is that the suffering of others hurt me deeply and fed my desire to help make things better for them in whatever way I could. That desire is even stronger today, as I have seen what an impact my efforts can have on others. There is no greater feeling in the world, than knowing you helped another human being in a deep and meaningful way.
Now many years later I still find great joy in helping others cope with aging, failing health or just life in general. We need each other and being needed is an essential part of what it is to be human.
If you are new to caregiving I applaud you for the steps you are taking to join us on this journey. If you have been on the journey for a long time as I have, I applaud you for your dedication and courage to go the extra mile to help others. It isn’t an easy road to travel, but it is a journey worth making in my opinion.
Please come back often and share this journey with me. I welcome all!
Until Next Time
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There are many great forums out there for caregivers - both family and professional. People share all sorts of things on the forums, some happy things some sad, and many, many frustrating things. If you are a family caregiver and have been doing caregiving for any length of time I am sure there are things that frustrate you and things you just wish people would not say. Here are a few things people may say to you that could be said better, or maybe not said at all:
- ‘God Never Gives US More Than We Can Handle’
Now before you say anything I am not saying anything about religion here. It’s just that when you’re a full time caregiver like many are, doing this job 24/7, it does feel like more than you can handle and honestly most times it is. Saying ‘God knows you can handle it’ may make a person feel like God is punishing them, or perhaps does not care.
- ‘Is There Anything I Can Do To Help?’
This may seem like a good thing to say, however it is hard for caregivers to ask for help, especially from friends. Instead of asking what you can do, try telling the person, “I would like to bring dinner Wednesday what time is good?” Take the initiative. Dive in and help out. You could also offer to stay a few hours with mom, but again phrase it so they know you mean it like “ I’m off Saturday how about I stay with mom so you can go shopping, should I come by at 12”?
- ‘At Least You Have Your Family To Help’
This phrase can open up a whole life’s worth of hurt if in fact like so many family caregivers there is only one left doing all the work. It is very typical (trust me on this one) for one sibling to be living with mom or dad or both and doing the lion’s share of the work. Many family caregivers have no help at all from other family members and on top of full time caregiving, have to deal with resentment. So if you think this would be a good thing to say please make sure you know that others are sharing the load.
- ‘You Need To Make Time For Yourself’
Every caregiver knows this, but putting it into practice without someone stepping up to help is in many cases impossible. If you know a caregiver needs a break, then by all means make it happen for them. Time to oneself is a highly valued commodity that is seldom available to family caregivers.
“Doing something is many times better than just saying something.”
If you are the friend of a caregiver there is so much you can do that will cost little or nothing at all but your time. Treats, dinners, a card or flowers all can brighten up their day. Spending time helping out around the house, doing some laundry, picking up groceries or giving the caregiver a date night all say so much. They show that you understand and care about them and what they are handling. Most caregivers do what they do out of love and that is a wonderful thing. Be there to support them, lend a listening ear. We are all on this journey we call life together and some of us just have a heavier load right now.
Why "PAL Caregivers?"
PAL stands for Personal Assistant for Living.
PAL Caregivers.com is your one-stop web site that brings together and analyzes information and news about the Caregiving Community. Both Family and Professional caregivers will benefit from the wealth of information available here. Our goal here at PAL Caregivers is to help caregivers navigate the ever changing, challenging journey we are all on. Together we can inform, support and grow as a community.
Along with information and news we will aim to shine the spotlight on two major topics we feel very strongly about.
First is the topic of how a person can develop a rewarding career as a Professional Independent Caregiver. What it takes to become one and the steps to make yourself successful.
Second is a topic we will explore in depth. Adult Family Care Homes also called Adult Foster Care Homes for the aged or AFCH for short. These homes are hidden gems in the world of assisted living and are a wonderful alternative to nursing homes. We want to give great attention to these homes, what they are, how they are run and why a family should chose one for their loved ones (as our family did). We are developing for this website a “Home Finder” to give people easy access to great information on these gems.
In addition there is Ruth Ann Millers blog page and Forums where caregivers can discuss caregiving and ask questions. The sharing of ideas is a key to success and survival.
The PAL Caregiving website is updated daily and can be used as a reliable source for news, information and support. Please feel free to come here often. And as always we welcome your comments and suggestions as no one knows it all. k2