The high cost -- and stress -- of caring for the elderly



More than half of recently surveyed affluent Americans age 50-plus said they would rather die than spend time in a nursing home. 

Instead, 71 percent of respondents to a recent study from Nationwide Retirement Institute said they hope a loved one will take care of them and that they can compensate that person financially for their efforts. "It's clear respondents do want the care of a loved one, but they don't want to be a burden on spouses or adult children," said Holly Snyder, vice president of Nationwide's life insurance business.

But the reality is caregiving is often stressful, both emotionally and financially. The Nationwide study, released Wednesday, also surveyed adults 50 and older who had been or are caregivers. "We found that only 20 percent of caregivers received some kind of financial support, and more than half of them spend their own money -- on average about $4,000."

A separate study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP found that 16 percent of women caregivers and 6 percent of men take a less demanding job to care for a loved one. Twelve percent of women and 3 percent of men quit work altogether. That can lead to a loss of $304,000 in wages and benefits on average over a lifetime, according to AARP research.

Read more at CBSMoneyWatch


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