While getting older sure beats the alternative, the growing number of senior citizens around the world has resulted in an increased need for elder care services. With a population continuing to swell for people aged 55+ while the economy continues to struggle, more and more families are trying to balance caring for aging loved ones while also holding down a job and caring for their children. 

Several studies have estimated that as many as one out of every five adults is currently providing care to a relative or friend who is 50 years old or older. A recent study by The RAND Corporation estimated the cost of informal caregiving for aging family members to be $522 billion a year within the United States. According to the Washington Post, that amount is approximately “15 percent larger than Virginia’s entire economy.”

The RAND Corp. calculated the cost by adding up the number of hours friends and family provide “informal caregiving” to elderly family members or friends and multiplied the total hours as if unskilled workers earning minimum wage had provided the care. If skilled nursing care had been used in the equation, the total cost would go up to an estimated $642 billion a year.

Informal care may also be considered a type of long-term care (LTC). LTC is not skilled medical care and primarily focuses on providing assistance with personal tasks of everyday life. According to a September 2014 article in USA Today, the National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information reported that “more than 11 million Americans need LTC now and total costs can easily hit six figures: Average need for care lasts about three years (2.2 years for men and 3.7 years for women.)”

If that time has come when you or a family member can no longer maintain an independent lifestyle, please contact the knowledgeable staff at ElderLink. We are here to help you find elder care services or an assisted living facility within California that is customized for your needs and financial situation.