ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Caring for an older loved one can be emotionally draining, and a new report shows 78% of family caregivers also face significant financial stress as well.
The new AARP study reveals the highest cost burdens fall on younger caregivers and Latino and African Americans, according to Tammy Bresnahan – director of advocacy for AARP Maryland.
She said Congress’ Credit for Caring Act could help by providing a $5000 tax credit for eligible caregivers, who the report says regularly spend more than $7,000 a year.
“They are often forgotten,” said Bresnahan. “They are often excluded. And these people that are providing this care are often at the lower end of the financial spectrum. So we believe that Congress needs to pay attention to this group of people because they’re the ones more sacrificing than most.”
The Senate bill has bipartisan support and is currently in committee.
Latino caregivers have the highest financial strain, according to the study, spending an average of 47% of their income on caregiving expenses. For more information, go to aarp.org/caregiving.
Maryland has 790,000 caregivers, making up about $8 billion of uncompensated care,AARP data shows. To help, Bresnahan said her group has worked on legislation to give Maryland caregivers rights when their loved ones go into the hospital and laws to provide paid sick leave.
“Most recently we are working on paid family leave to take care of an elderly parent and or a child that would work like an insurance policy,” said Bresnahan. “And that bill has been in Maryland for the last four years, but we are still working hard to make sure that happens.”
She said these policies could especially help communities of color.
African American caregivers also spend a large amount on caregiving, the report finds, an average of 34% of their income.