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I hope this woman does not do consulting regarding elderly care because she is not an expert at all.
And a 5000 deductible from the government is just a lame joke. Clearly they have no clue how much caregiving costs and it is certainly more that 5000 a year.
is AARP’s family and caregiving expert. She has written two books on the subject and has her own consulting business.
“I am a caregiving expert. How did I end up in bankruptcy?” she says.
Ms. Goyer depleted her savings and ended up relying on credit cards after being financially drained by costs related to caring for her parents. After more than a decade of caring for her mom, who had a stroke, and her dad, who had Alzheimer’s, Ms. Goyer filed for bankruptcy protection in 2019.
Ms. Goyer started a consulting business, which gave her more flexibility to care for her parents.
She describes the bankruptcy experience as humiliating and embarrassing. But she says it shows how the unexpected costs of daily caregiving can accumulate over time and overwhelm even the most experienced of the nation’s 53 million family caregivers.
Family caregivers are the backbone of the nation’s long-term care system and provide an estimated $470 billion worth of free care—often at great personal cost. On average, caregivers spend 26% of their personal income on caregiving expenses, according to a 2021 AARP study, with most personal spending going to housing, including home modifications. A third of caregivers dip into their personal savings, like bank accounts, to cover costs, and 12% take out a loan or borrow from family or friends.
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“I don’t think people understand how expensive caregiving is,” says Jean Chatzky, founder of HerMoney.com, a digital media company focused on women and personal finance.
Ms. Chatzky and others say family members incorrectly assume Medicare will pay for long-term care in nursing homes or in-home help, only to be surprised when a relative falls ill or needs that kind of care. Private long-term-care insurance picks up some of those costs, but the amount varies depending on the plan.
Caregiving is becoming more expensive because people are living longer with more complicated medical needs and hiring help costs more. The median annual cost of in-home care rose to $54,912 in 2020, an 18.5% increase from 2016, according to Genworth, a long-term-care insurance company.
The financial strain is widespread. Although the average caregiver is 49, about 23% percent are millennials, who have had less time in the workforce to build financial security. Concerns about the toll on family caregivers led to a recently introduced bipartisan Credit for Caring Act that would provide a tax credit of up to $5,000 to eligible working caregivers.
Ms. Goyer displays photos of her parents, Robert and Patricia Goyer.
Ms. Goyer began her caregiving from a distance. Her parents lived in Phoenix. She lived in Alexandria, Va., and worked in Washington for the AARP. While her sisters pitched in, Ms. Goyer, who was single, childless and had a background in aging, managed their care and ultimately financed a large part of it.
At first, she would fly to Arizona several times a year, but began coming monthly as her parents’ health declined. Her mother, Patricia, who had a stroke at the age of 63, had frequent hospitalizations, and her dad’s cognitive abilities began slipping. In 2009, the doctor said that he had Alzheimer’s and that he should stop driving.
“That is when everything changed. I picked up my life and moved,” says Ms. Goyer.
Costs start to mount
She left her full-time position at AARP and started a consulting business, which gave her more flexibility to care for her parents but also meant added costs for things like health insurance.
She found a continuing-care community for her parents and moved into their house, taking over the mortgage and bills, while maintaining her Washington-area apartment to be close to her clients and boyfriend.
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