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Brandeis University Report underscores high costs of unpaid caregiving

LIZA BERGER


MARCH 29, 2022


Unpaid caregiving is an expensive proposition, according to a March report, entitled “Increasing access to home- and community-based services can reduce out-of-pocket costs for families,” from Brandeis University’s Community Living Policy Center.


Here’s what the costs of unpaid caregiving look like, says the report: Average annual out-of-pocket costs for caregivers is $7,242, approximately one quarter of their income. Black and Hispanic/Latinx families report greater financial strain, with annual out-of-pocket expenses totaling 34% and 47% of their income, respectively.


There are other indirect costs as well, the report offers. Six in 10 report having experienced at least one change to their employment situation as a result of caregiving. These include: going in late, leaving early or taking time off (53%); reducing hours (15%); taking leave of absence (14%); turning down a promotion (7%); giving up work entirely (6%); and retiring early (5%).


Financial hits to unpaid caregivers are numerous as well, according to the report: stopped saving (28%), took on more debt (23%), used up personal short-term savings (22%), left bills unpaid/paid them late (19%), and borrowed money from family and friends (15%).


There are over 53 million family caregivers. The economic value of the unpaid care they provide is estimated to be over $470 billion annually, the report says. Increasing access to home- and community-based services can reduce out-of-pocket costs for families, the report said.


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