Before the pandemic, family caregivers were spending nearly $7,000 per year out of their own pocket when caring for an aging loved one with some estimates reaching as high as $8,700 per year if you live further away. How do caregivers find the money to do this? Caregivers report saving less for their own retirement or their kids’ education, putting off their own health care expenses and some caregivers even take loans or early withdrawals from their retirement accounts.
As a nation watched nursing homes ravaged by COVID-19 outbreaks, family caregivers started to ask themselves – why didn’t I keep my loved one at home with me? Before the pandemic, the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home was already difficult. But, with total confirmed COVID cases in nursing home residents approaching 2,000,000 nationally and facility staff accounting for more than one million confirmed COVID cases nationwide, family caregivers are now motivated to keep their loved ones at home more than ever.
The pandemic has harmed people around the globe, causing losses of routines, jobs and lives. Many Americans, especially older adults, have also suffered. In response, U.S. rates of depression, anxiety and substance use have risen.
But this has also been a time when the busy pace of life has slowed for many of us, allowing us to think about what matters most to us. Because we sometimes hesitate nowadays to see one another in person, we are using video platforms to regularly touch base with the people most important to us. Some of us have started house projects, cooked new recipes or begun reading again. Others have used the increased time at home to reconnect with nature through gardening or return to playing the piano.