Caregivers have a lower risk of death yet pay a high financial price, according to two new reports.
The first report, a study published today in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, evaluated women caregivers and found that caring for someone else was tied to having a lower risk of dying over an average 17.5-year follow-up span.
The researchers assessed caregiving trends among 158,987 women between 50 and 79 years old. Over the course of the follow-up period, 31.8% of them died. Women who reported being a caregiver over two evaluations 10 years apart had a 9% lower risk of death from cancer or cardiovascular disease. The link didn’t shift according to race, age, depression, optimism level, or living status, the researchers found.
The association of lower death risk didn’t differ based on caregiving frequency, age, race-ethnicity, depressive symptoms, optimism or living status.
Another report released in August about caregiving found that 1 in 5 adults provide free care to family and loved ones with health problems. The source of the report was the TIAA Institute and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. On average, caregivers spend more than $7,000 a year out of pocket, the data showed. The spending included paying for healthcare, transportation and housing, to name a few.
As a result of the spending, about half of the caregivers said they’ve taken financial hits that have forced them to dip into their own money to continue providing care. Caregivers tend to have fewer financial assets yet more debt compared to people who don’t care for their loved ones, according to the report.
About 3 in 5 caregivers work in addition to their role as a caregiver. As a result, 61% said caregiving has impacted their traditional job.