How much does a caregiver spend a year in caregiving costs?

caregiver spend

Almost half of family caregivers spent more than $5,000 in medications, medical bills, in/home care, and nursing homes the past 12 months, according to’s latest Usage and Attitudes Survey measuring how the finances of family caregivers of older adults in the United States are faring. Eleven percent of the caregivers who spent over $5,000 spent $10,000-$19,000; 7% spent $20,000/$29,000; 5% spent $30,000-$49,000; and 7% spent $50,000 or more. Additionally, 32% spent less than $5,000 and 21% didn’t know how much they spent. The survey also found the following:

Pharmacy spending (prescription or OTC drugs, personal care products, home healthcare products)


% of caregivers

%500 or more


Less than $250


$250 to less than $500



Time spent on caregiving


% of caregivers

More than 30








Less than 5



Impact on workplace

·         79% told their employers about their situation.

·         66% of caregivers experienced caregiving-related distractions (phone calls, e-mails, emotional distraction) on the job.

·         60% reported caregiving has had negative effects on their jobs.

·         50% made changes to their schedules.

·         30% frequently arrived late or left early.

·         17% missed considerable amounts of work.

·         15% may need to resign.

·         9% reported caregiving has had positive effects on their jobs

Time frame for deciding on a senior care or senior housing option


% of caregivers

Less than one








More than 12



Respondents were caring for:

·         Parent (30%)

·         Spouse or partner (24%)

·         Other relative (5%)

·         Friend or neighbor (2%)

And their care receivers live:

·         With caregiver (59%)

·         At an assisted-living facility, nursing home, or other living community (20%)

·         At their home with some unpaid assistance from others (6%)

·         At their home with aid from a paid caregiver (5%)

·         Independently at their home with little or no assistance (5%)

·         With other relatives (3%)

The online survey was conducted between June 26th and July 20th, 2014 among 1,345 users, of which 26% were male and 74% were female in their 50’s and 60’s. Moreover, 83% of them cared for a loved one aged 70 or older. It is encouraging to see that even though caregiving is not inexpensive by any means, most of the respondents took less than one month to decide on senior care. Keep in mind that providing care for a relative is not costly in terms of money but also in terms of time, not to mention the negative impact it can have on one’s work situation, and the stress that arises from having to discuss difficult topics – such as wills, driving privileges, funeral wishes, how to pay for care, &c. It is the money issue though that probably leaves a small percentage of caregivers no longer able to afford living situation, let alone plan for retirement and old age (only 32% of caregivers have done any plans for themselves as it pertains to life insurance, burial insurance, retirement, long/term care insurance, or senior living communities).