As cognitive decline becomes an increasingly significant part of Americans’ lives, it is having a massive impact on families’ finances, according to a new study from RBC Wealth Management- U.S.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, a figure that is expected to reach 14 million by 2050.
As the population ages, the responsibility of caring for aging relatives is falling largely to next of kin. In fact, one in five (19%) American adults currently assists an older family member, according to the RBC survey. Specifically, 17% of respondents regularly help with chores, cooking, cleaning or traveling to appointments, 5% provide housing and 5% offer financial support.
The survey found that among those who provide financial support to an older relative, the average monthly contribution is $403. Twenty-two percent contribute $500 to $999, and 14% contribute more than $1,000.
RBC partnered with Ipsos to poll more than 2,000 Americans 35 and older on a range of issues related to their personal finances.
The survey focused largely on the sandwich generation.
According to Jen McGarry, who heads RBC’s client risk prevention division, this was of keen interest to RBC as the firm has a lot of clients caring for both their aging parents and their adult or teenage children.
As the survey found, many Americans currently know someone diagnosed with dementia.
Among respondents who have a senior relative in their life, 10% say someone they help care for has been diagnosed with some form of dementia, and another 9% say someone else in their family has been similarly diagnosed.
The hit to families’ finances is not only due to increased medical expenses but also because those with dementia may make financial missteps and are at increased risk for becoming targets of fraud and abuse.