Posted December 10, 2007

The out-of-pocket cost of caring for an aging parent or spouse averages $5,531 a year, according to the nation’s first in-depth study of such expenses, a sum that is more than double previous estimates and more than the average American household spends each year on health care and entertainment combined.  In November 2007,  National Alliance for Caregiving released its study "The Evercare Study of Family Caregivers – What They Spend, What They Sacrifice." 

The Evercare/NAC study found that as many as 17 million people, or 51 percent of the 34 million that a 2004 NAC/AARP survey found care for a loved one 50 years or older, are spending on average more than 10 percent of their annual income on caregiving expenses.  The Evercare/NAC Study also showed that the most common expenses were household goods, food, and meals.  One-third of the respondents said that they have dipped into their own savings to help with care.

Keep in mind that I am pretty sure that this study is estimating the cost when the family is providing the actual care.  The cost of hiring a caregiver is probably going to be *in addition* to the above expense because you will still have to pay for household goods, food, etc.  A private duty caregiver from a reputable agency (not someone who is paid under the table that you have to manage) costs around $15-$25 and hour in the Chicago area.  For a live in (who does get to sleep) the range can be $180-$250 a day and up depending on the care needed!

The full study is available at www.caregiving.org.

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