According to LIMRA research, there are 43 million Americans currently acting as unpaid caregivers for family members. Advances in medicine and better lifestyle choices have helped more Americans live longer but many of these older Americans often need caregiving help and often, this falls on the family to provide it.
LIMRA wanted to learn how caregiving for a family member impacted their family’s finances. Aside from the out-of-pocket costs associated with caring for a loved one, which AARP estimates is almost $7,000 annually,1 there is often a cost in terms of lost opportunity for those who work outside the home.
New findings from LIMRA suggest half of unpaid caregivers work full-time outside the home. For many of these individuals, the demands of taking care of a loved one have impacted their career.
The study found 4 in 10 had to take an unpaid leave of absence or decrease the number of hours they worked because of the demands of caring for a family member. Three in ten say they have turned down a promotion, and a quarter say they have lost job benefits, such as medical, retirement, insurance, etc., because they had to cut back their hours because ofo their caregiving responsibilities.
In addition, a significant percentage indicated they ultimately had to stop working.
- 22% voluntarily quit.
- 18% had their employment terminated.
- 13% retired early.
LIMRA research shows 26% of private-sector employers offer paid family leave and another 38% plan to introduce the benefit within the next 18 months. Paid-family leave was the number one benefit employers said they were planning to add. However, most private-sector paid leave programs are designed for parental/maternity leave, not for family leave, which would not help the growing number of multi-generational family caregivers in the workforce.
With more than 10,000 Americans turning 65 each day, the number of families facing the financial challenges associated with providing care to an older family member is certain to grow in the next several years.