Americans who take time off from work to care for aging parents lose an estimated $3 trillion in wages, pension and Social Security benefits, according to a new study by the MetLife Mature Market Institute in conjunction with the National Alliance for Caregiving and the Center for Long Term Care Research and Policy at New York Medical College.
Women lose an average of $324,044, and men lose an average $283,716 each. About a quarter of adult children, triple the percentage from 15 years ago, care for aging parents.
Adult children age 50 and older who work and provide care to a parent are more likely to report fair or poor health than those who do not provide care, according to the study. Overall sons and daughters provide comparable care, although daughters are more likely to provide basic care, such as help with dressing, feeding and bathing, and sons are more likely to provide financial help.
The Affordable Care Act creates a voluntary long-term care insurance program, which is likely to increase awareness of the issues faced by caregivers, the study authors say.
The study used data from the Health and Retirement Study conducted biannually by the University of Michigan with funding from the National Institute on Aging.