A long-term care (LTC) services Web directory company says credit cards have become a major financial tool for caregivers.

Caring.com, an affiliate of Bankrate Inc., reported that finding in a summary of results from an online survey of 972 people who said they were providing care for people with dementia.

Bankrate publishes information about credit card issuers and other lenders, and that might have affected the nature of its sample. But analysts at the firm found that 16 percent of the caregivers said they were using credit cards to help pay for dementia care. Another 5 percent had taken out personal loans to pay for the dementia care.

Only about 3 percent said they had cashed in the loved one’s life insurance policy to pay for the care, and 17 percent were using the loved one’s annuities to pay for care.

Ten percent of the loved ones had private long-term care insurance (LTCI).

Another finding: The caregivers were more likely to be using their own money and savings to pay for the care than to be using the loved one’s savings to pay for care. About 62 percent were using their own income and savings to pay for care, compared with 51 percent who were using the loved one’s savings.

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