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Gainesville Florida Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Financial Costs of Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s

If you are caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s, you already know the emotional toll for such a task. And of course, there are the financial costs that continue to increase at an alarming rate, according to a new report.

A recently released study from the University of Pennsylvania determined that the day-to-day costs of caring for a family member or loved one with Alzheimer’s ranges from $144,000 to $200,000 over a two-year period.

This article, recently published in HealthDay, provides a detailed explanation of the staggering financial burden falling on families caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s.

Almost $200,000 over the course of two years. That is the cost of the care that a family member typically gives a loved one with Alzheimer's disease.

That's according to a new study that attempted to put a price tag on the burden of the day-to-day help that millions of folks with the memory-robbing disease need for shopping, cooking, cleaning, eating, taking medicine and looking after their well-being.

"The costs of caregiving depend on the needs of the [patient], and median costs range between $144,000 to over $200,000 over the course of two years," said study author Norma Coe. She's an associate professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

More than 35 million Americans provided care to someone aged 50 or older in 2015, but the real costs of this so-called informal care aren't really clear, the researchers said.

When these costs are usually taken into account, researchers multiply the hours of care by the wage that paid home health care workers would earn. But this falls short of the real-world costs of care given by family members.

That's because family caregivers often give up activities such as leisure time or jobs, the study authors explained.

These costs totaled at least $277 billion in 2011, Coe said. "As baby boomers age and policies shift long-term care towards the community, these costs will likely rise substantially," she added.

For this study, Coe and her colleagues looked at the costs to daughters between the ages of 40 and 70 who would be taking care of their mother in the near future.

The researchers specifically studied different scenarios of the mothers' health. These included mothers who were healthy, those who had difficulty with daily activities, those with memory loss, those who had difficulty with daily activities and had memory loss, and moms who needed constant care.

For mothers who had memory loss but no difficulty preforming daily activities the researchers estimated the cost over two years at $163,000.



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