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Caregiving realities yet to be realized

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An estimated 66 million Americans serve as unpaid caregivers for loved ones. A new study revealed the actual impact of caregiving is often much greater than expected. Here are the highlights from the study.

While only 40 percent of caregivers expect they will contribute financially to the care of a family member, the reality is 83 percent end up doing so.

Only 38 percent of caregivers expect to experience a decrease in income while actually 63 percent of caregivers do experience a decrease.

Thirty-seven percent of caregivers expect their savings to decline as a result of caregiving while the study found, in fact, 61 percent of caregivers used some of their savings to care for a loved one.

Of those surveyed, 57 percent of caregivers actually dipped into their retirement funds to help care for a loved one, compared to only 34 percent who expected having to do so.

Forty-eight percent of caregivers suffered employment stresses, including losing a job, changing shifts or missing career opportunities as a result of caregiving responsibilities, compared to 29 percent who expected such impact.

Only 35 percent of Americans believe they will ever need long-term care. But the reality is 70 percent of people older than 65 will need long-term care at some point during their lives.

Source: Genworth Financial