Wendy Boglioli, a swimmer who won an Olympic gold medal in the 1976 games, has been a spokeswoman for Genworth's line of long-term care insurance for the last several years. Her own 92-year-old mother has been in a nursing home for the last three years.
This week, Boglioli and her six brothers and sisters, who share in their mother's care, moved her to a new facility and listened patiently to her stream of complaints. But they have no good answers for her when she says, "I want to go home."
The bottom line is that the nursing facility costs $8,600 a month, while staying at home with the 24-hour care she needs would cost upward of $15,000 a month -- too much for the family to afford. "The ugly side of needing care is the cost," Boglioli says.
Her brother, a former prison warden now in retirement, lives closest to his mother and visits twice a day. That's more than the rest of the siblings who aren't as proximate. According to a recent study by Genworth, who will release its full results in the coming months, 48 percent of caregivers are male. This is a higher percentage than five years ago, probably because of lingering high unemployment among middle-age men, Boglioli says.
Other caregiver data gleaned from the retirement planning study include the following.
- The average caregiver is 49 years old.
- Some 61 percent are married with an average household income of $67,900 a year.
- Caregiving costs them an average of $8,080 a year that caregivers pay out of pocket.
- Nearly 60 percent are caring for a parent.
- About 44 percent remain caregivers for at least three years.
Boglioli's mother has been unable to live on her own without help for about eight years. All seven of the siblings kick in to cover the costs. Boglioli encourages people to consider how they would pay for long-term care while they and their parents are still relatively young and healthy.
"You never know. If something happens to you today, you need a plan," she says.