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Family Caregivers Face Significant Financial Strain, Spend $7,200+ Per Year – 26% of Income - on Average: New AARP Research

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AARP Launches Nationwide Campaign Urging More Support for Family Caregivers, Passage of Bipartisan Federal Credit for Caring Act

ALBANY, N.Y. –  Nearly 8 in 10 family caregivers (78%) face regular out-of-pocket costs to care for an adult family member, with the highest burden falling on younger caregivers and those who are Hispanic/Latino or African American, new research from AARP shows.

AARP is launching a national campaign urging Congress to better support family caregivers. AARP tracked how much caregivers spend using their own money on caregiving costs and found average annual spending totaled $7,242; that’s 26% of the caregiver’s income on average.

Housing expenses like rent or mortgage payments, home modifications, and assisted living made up more than half of caregivers’ spending, followed by medical expenses at 17%.

“This research reflects the incredible strain and sacrifices the 2.5 million New Yorkers caring for adult loved ones face every day,” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel. “They are the backbone of our long-term care system, yet their backs are breaking from a lack of support.”

Neil, 85, from New York wrote to AARP about caring for his 78-year-old wife, who has dementia. He struggles to pay medical bills. “While I am mobile it is especially exhausting and worrisome looking after her needs and necessities,” he said. “Thank God I can still drive and get her to doctor appointments.”

Out-of-pocket spending is much greater for some groups of caregivers, either in total dollars spent or as a percentage of average household income.

  • Working caregivers who reported two work-related strains from caregiving, such as taking time off or working more hours, spend $10,525 each year on average – twice as much as caregivers who report one or no work-related strains.
  • By age, Gen X caregivers spent the most at $8,502, while Gen Z and Millennial caregivers reported the greatest financial strain, spending a larger share of their household income.
  • Hispanic/Latino and African American caregivers also reported greater financial strain than White or Asian American caregivers. Hispanic/Latino caregivers spent, on average, 47% of their household income on caregiving, and expenses for African American caregivers totaled, on average, 34% of income.
  • Caregivers caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease/dementia or mental health issues tend to spend more ($8,978 per year and $8,384 per year, respectively) than those caring for someone without those conditions. 

In addition to direct out-of-pocket spending, caregivers are also experiencing indirect financial setbacks. Nearly half of family caregivers (47%) experienced at least one financial setback such as having to cut back on their own health care spending, dip into their personal savings or reduce how much they save for their retirement. 

“AARP New York and our colleagues across the country are calling on Congress to pass the bipartisan Credit for Caring Act to provide some much-needed financial relief to family caregivers who work to help offset the cost of caring,” said Finkel.

AARP has endorsed the Credit for Caring Act, which would provide a tax credit of up to $5,000 to eligible working family caregivers for expenses they incur as caregivers. The organization is launching a national campaign urging passage of the act and more support for family caregivers.

The campaign involves significant grassroots advocacy, including at least 60 telephone town halls, a major digital and video advertising initiative, and social media outreach through AARP’s national and state offices. Already, more than 100,000 contacts have been made with Members of Congress. In addition, more than 110 organizations, including 36 military and veterans service and support organizations, have joined AARP in asking Congress to pass the Credit for Caring Act.

More resources for family caregivers, including a free financial workbook, are available at aarp.org/caregiving.

Contact: Erik Kriss, ekriss@aarp.org

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About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.orgwww.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.

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