New Survey Looks at Caregiving Stress in Central California
The big news: An overwhelming majority of elderly Californians on fixed incomes and in need of long-term care prefer to remain at home, but a lack of affordable community-based options often leave them with a wrenching choice – burn through their retirement savings and/or home equity to age in place or be forced move to a long-term facility or nursing home.
That is one of the key takeaways from a recent survey of more than 1,700 caregivers and other respondents in two California counties.
The Modesto Bee reported on the efforts Legacy Health (the charitable foundation that sponsored the research) is doing bringing partners together in the Person-Centered Care initiative to help regional caregivers with burnout and give them access to services.
Our research revealed that more than 93% of those surveyed believe it is important to have long-term care services that allow seniors and those who are disabled to safely remain in their homes. Unfortunately, there are limited affordable in-home supportive service options in California that allow seniors or those who are disabled to do so. Despite their wishes, many simply end up in nursing facilities.
The caregivers – frequently spouses or adult children – often face financial hardship, especially if those requiring care are too young for Medicare or do not qualify for Medi-Cal. Nearly 8 in 10 (79.6%) of the survey respondents say their caregiving responsibilities have affected their ability to pay their household expenses. Adult children often forego saving for their own retirements, children’s college education or home down payments because they must financially support and provide care for one or more of their aging middle-class parents.
Nearly a supermajority (63.7%) has used savings, borrowed money or increased credit card debt to help pay for the costs associated with their caregiver responsibilities. More than half (56.4%) have recently borrowed between $100 and $1,000 to pay for caregiving costs.