A Comprehensive Measure of the Costs of Caring for a Parent: Differences According to Functional Status

TitleA Comprehensive Measure of the Costs of Caring for a Parent: Differences According to Functional Status
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsCoe, NB, Skira, MM, Larson, EB
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Pagination2003 - 2008
Date PublishedJan-10-2018
KeywordsCaregiving, Informal care, Well-being

Approximately 34 million family and friends provided unpaid care to individuals aged 50 and older in 2015. It is difficult to place a value on that time, because no payment is made to the caregiver, and multiplying caregiving hours by a wage does not account for the value of lost leisure time, implications for future employability and wages, or any intrinsic benefits accrued to the care provider. This study used a dynamic discrete choice model to estimate the costs of informal care provided by a daughter to her mother, including these other costs and benefits not typically accounted for, and compared these cost estimates for 4 categories of the mother's functional status: doctor-diagnosed memory-related disease, limitations in activities of daily living (ADLs), combination of both, cannot be left alone for 1 hour or more. We studied women aged 40 to 70 with a living mother at the start of the sample period (N=3,427 adult daughters) using data from the Health and Retirement Study (1998–2012). The primary outcome was the monetized change in well-being due to caregiving, what economists call “welfare costs.” We estimate that the median cost to the daughter's well-being of providing care to an elderly mother ranged from $144,302 to $201,896 over 2 years, depending on the mother's functional status. These estimates suggest that informal care cost $277 billion in 2011, 20% more than estimates that account only for current foregone wages. © 2018, Copyright the Author Journal compilation © 2018, The American Geriatrics Society

Short TitleJ Am Geriatr Soc
Citation Key9856