Americans significantly underestimate the impact that a family member’s long-term care needs could have on their own lives, marriages, work commitments, financial stability and future financial security, finds a new landmark study, Our Family, Our Future: The Heart of Long Term Care Planning, sponsored by Genworth Financial and released in November by Age Wave and Harris Interactive. The study, conducted online in September among 2,151 U.S. adults age 18 and over, sought to uncover the hopes, worries and needs of family members providing care to loved ones.
An estimated 66 million Americans – or roughly 20% of the U.S. population – are serving as unpaid family caregivers. The research revealed the actual impact of caregiving on this group is often significantly greater than expected, as evidenced by the following Top 5 Family Caregiving Myths and Misconceptions:
1. Financial Contributions: While only 40% of caregivers expect they will contribute financially to the care of a family member, the reality is 83% actually do.
2. Income Hit: In actuality, 63% of caregivers experience a reduction in income. This compares to 38% of caregivers that expect to experience such a reduction.
3. Reduction in Savings: 37% of caregivers expect their savings to decline as a result of their caregiving responsibilities. The study found, in fact, 61% of caregivers have used some of their savings to care for a loved one.
4. Retirement Funds Tapped: Of caregivers surveyed, 57% actually tapped their retirement funds to care for a loved one, compared to 34% who expected to do so.