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In Caregivers,Parents,Planning

Caregivers find themselves assuming expenses

Closeup of $10 and $20 bills. In addition to shouldering the tasks of providing care, caregivers might find them paying loved ones' expenses.

Much has been written about the physical and emotional toll on family caregivers – and on what lost productivity costs businesses. But what about the financial cost to caregivers?

A recent survey by Northwestern Mutual of nearly 1,000 caregivers found that 68 percent of them report that they provide financial support to their loved one, an increase of 4 percentage points over the prior year. Nearly half of them say that monetary contributions are the type of support they feel least equipped to provide, and it’s no wonder: A third of them said they spend more than 20 percent of their monthly budget on providing care:

Chart showing the average monthly amounts that caregivers spend for their loved ones' personal expenses such as medical care, food or clothes.

A Northwestern representative interviewed by CNBC urged families to talk about how to cover costs when loved ones’ assets are depleted. ElderServe’s care managers may also be able to help caregivers and their senior family members identify community resources to help with expenses such as medication, affordable housing or utilities. Benefits Check Up by the National Council on Aging can also help you identify available programs in your area.

Conversations about aging and income can be uncomfortable, but by planning and educating themselves, families can potentially save themselves stress and dollars.