Millennials are spending around $6,954 a year being caregivers; policy should change to address this.
An FKD Feature exclusive

Millennials are about to be hit with yet another financial crisis. This debt is especially close to home. Hopefully, later rather than sooner, millennials will have to be caretakers for the baby boomers. Being a caregiver is expensive. AARP reported that caregivers covered costs with nearly 20 percent of their annual income and spent on average $6,954 a year, all going towards caring for elderly parents and relatives. The cost of caring is going to hurt millennials’ savings and will force them to budget their parents care out-of-pocket.

 

The issue

 

A new study found that 10 million millennials are caregivers. This is a full-time job, and it is unpaid. AARP found that millennial caregivers work 21 hours a week as a caregiver on average. That’s while 73 percent of them will also have another full-time job. Caregivers are providing medical supplies, meals, clothing, toiletries and other amenities. Some millennials are stuck in a crisis because they cannot afford, nor do they want, to put a family member in a home. So they compromise by using their income to help keep up a quality of life. Millennial caregivers will be dealing with this expense while paying off student debt and other costs of living. It’s an unfair predicament.

 

Debt inheritance

Luckily, it’s sporadic to inherit family debts. However, millennial caregivers are often left with some sort of debt from their families’ hospital bills after they pass away. It is not legal for hospitals to bill children if the parent passes away in the hospital; instead, the bill falls on the estate.

In 30 U.S. states, some laws require children to pay a portion of their parents’ medical bills if the estate does not adequately cover it. Luckily, most millennial caregivers will not have to pay off debt, but the cost of caregiving is rising as the cost of living increases.

Solutions

 

AARP recognized the cost of caregiving, so employees at the company can take a care leave. This time can be used to help ailing family members. The benefit means caregivers can take leave to help their families with personal care or daily activities. Other companies with a sizable millennial workforce should consider instituting similar programs since over-tired millennial caregivers will not be able to perform their best at work if they are burnt out from caregiving.

 

Takeaway

 

Millennials are becoming caregivers, and it costs them a lot of time and money. But, of course, the need to take care of family is understandable. However, healthcare or companies should include a perk for caregivers, allowing them the time and pay they need to continue attending to family members.

 

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Posted 06.19.2018 - 08:00 am EDT