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Families spend more on caring for aging parents, than raising kids

Posted at 6:45 AM, Feb 13, 2017

Parenting, is often called the toughest job.

“You can read all the books you want, and then the second you see them you automatically start going to a different plan,” said new dad, Mark Williams.

Veronica McGee can relate.

“You don't really notice how much you're juggling until after you fall down," Veronica McGee said.

But she's not raising a baby. 10 years ago, McGee became the full time caregiver for her mother after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“It hurts when you see that aging part of your parents," she said.

Working a full time job, and taking care of her grand-daughter as well, McGee told me she had no clue how much it would cost her, financially and emotionally.

“Now as she's here [her mom], the lights and gas are going up, the water bill is going up. So that's the cost and the stress of that cost," McGee explained.  

Costs that Debbie Sacerich with the Western Reserve Area Agency On aging said are common, and yet frequently aren't planned for.

“You run out of money very quickly," she said.

For someone like McGee, out-of-pocket costs to care for an aging parent average about $140,000. Compare that to the $233,600, the US Department of Agriculture's latest estimate for the cost of raising a child, but looks are deceiving.

“Many of them reduce their hours at work or quit their job to care for their parent and so that's a huge cost," said Sacerich.

And raising a child is spread out across almost 2 decades, while most people care for an older adult for just about 4 years.

“You really don't realize all you need until it happens to you," McGee.

Caregiving advocates say there's a need for more resources to support these caregivers across the country and here in Cuyahoga County.

“I think we can always improve, that there are a lot of people who have fallen through the gap's and don't even know where to look," said Sacerich.

Cuyahoga county has a program called ‘Options For Seniors’ for people who don't quite meet the Medicaid eligibility and your physical needs aren't as great, they can send health aids into the home to help give that caregiver a break.

Another resource for families is the Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging found here: http://www.psa10a.org