New Data Uncovers Hidden Financial, Emotional Toll for Caregiving
Key Findings Snapshot:
Nearly 90% of both active and potential caregivers said they also
experienced a financial impact when the elder they were caring for was
$36,000 – average total financial loss to caregivers when elder
financial abuse occurs
$8,400/year spent providing care for past victims, 56% higher than
cost of caring for elders with no history of financial abuse
Nearly 80% of caregivers responsible for an elder financial abuse
victim indicated concern about both their current finances and their
MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A new study from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
(Allianz Life®) revealed that elder financial abuse has a profound
financial impact on the caregivers of those who are victimized.
According to the updated Safeguarding
Our Seniors Study,* nearly 90% of both active and
potential caregivers said they experienced a financial impact when their
elder was financially abused, with the average cost to those caregivers
reaching a staggering $36,000. In addition, those providing care for
past victims are spending significantly more than those caring for
elders with no history of financial abuse, which in turn is negatively
impacting the caregivers’ ability to save for their own retirements.
The 2016 Safeguarding Our Seniors Study expanded on a previous
Allianz Life elder financial abuse study by surveying 1,000 active and
potential caregivers.** This new study showed that the topic is complex,
multi-layered, and evolving, with abuse affecting caregivers, not just
the victims themselves.
The study found that the average caregiver spends more than $7,000 per
year and provides more than 10 hours per week in noncash support
(driving to appointments, delivering meals, social engagement, etc.).
Less than half of current caregivers receive some form of financial
assistance for that support.
Unfortunately, these costs are exacerbated when the elder in question
has been a victim of financial abuse. Caregivers for past victims
reported spending nearly $8,400 each year in direct cash and noncash
support – 56% higher than the roughly $5,400 spent by those caring for
elders with no history of financial abuse. Furthermore, in cases where
the elder is a past victim, the need for those elders to receive some
sort of direct financial assistance from their caregiver is more than
double that of situations where financial abuse has not occurred.
“As America’s population ages, more people will be caregivers,” said
Allianz Life President and CEO Walter White. “Unfortunately, these
caregivers will be at risk of experiencing the negative effects of elder
financial abuse perpetrated against the person they’re caring for. While
a focus on protecting seniors from financial exploitation is vital, we
also need to provide resources to caregivers who increasingly will
become collateral victims of the elder abuse.”
Detriment to Retirement Planning
Two-thirds of active caregivers said the cost of providing care is
having a significant effect on their finances, and they worry about
having enough money to retire. Once again, when elder financial abuse
occurs, that anxiety is even greater. Nearly 80% of caregivers
responsible for a past victim indicated concern about the effect
caregiving is having on both their current finances and their retirement
In addition, this financial stress has created a moral gray area that
many caregivers are constantly struggling to reconcile. Although the
majority (81%) of current caregivers agree that it’s okay to accept some
of the elder’s money to cover expenses, if offered, significantly fewer
(66%) agree that it’s okay for a caregiver to reimburse themselves for
any expenses without informing the elder every time.
Advocating the Role of the Financial Professional
Seven in 10 caregivers are currently talking to their elder about
financial abuse and scams, but many feel these discussions are
challenging. As a result, they are hesitant to have frequent
conversations for a variety of reasons, including the belief that it’s
none of their business, feeling that the elder is capable of managing
their own finances, or belief that it makes the elder uncomfortable.
The majority of active and potential caregivers (58%) agree that a
professional third party could help make these conversations easier,
especially if past elder financial abuse has occurred. More than
three-quarters (77%) of people caring for past financial abuse victims
would welcome the assistance of third-party professionals versus less
than half of caregivers (43%) where the elder was not a victim.
“We continue to advocate the involvement of a third party in financial
management – another family member or experienced financial professional
– as a simple first step in building a system of checks and balances
that can help prevent financial exploitation before it starts,” added
Committed to Finding a Solution
As a company, Allianz Life partners with community organizations to
deploy its employee volunteers in the community to raise awareness of
elder financial abuse. Working together with the Better Business Bureau,
Allianz Life created the Safeguarding Our Seniors volunteer program that
sends volunteers to senior or other community centers to educate and
encourage discussion on the topic. To date, volunteers have made more
than 70 presentations in and around the Twin Cities, reaching more than
1,000 seniors with valuable information about how they can protect
themselves from financial abuse.
In addition to educating consumers about elder financial abuse, Allianz
Life also developed a new Caregivers Readiness Guide to help
financial professionals start conversations with their clients about the
potential need of caregiving for oneself, one’s spouse or for an elder
family member. The guide provides simple checklists to follow about
medical decisions, necessary documents, and instructions, which can be
captured and organized inside one simple folder. The new guide and a Preventing
Elder Financial Abuse Tip Sheet from the Better Business
Bureau are both available for download at www.allianzlife.com/sos.
About Allianz Life Insurance Company of North
Life Insurance Company of North America, one of FORTUNE’s 100 Best
Companies to Work For in 2017, has been keeping its promises since 1896.
Today, it carries on that tradition, helping Americans achieve their
retirement income and protection goals with a variety of annuities and
life insurance products. In 2016, Allianz Life provided a total of $2.6
billion in benefit payments that supported policyholders’ financial
objectives. As a leading provider of fixed index annuities, Allianz Life
is part of Allianz SE, a global leader in the financial services
industry with 142,000 employees in more than 70 countries worldwide.
More than 85 million private and corporate customers rely on Allianz
knowledge, global reach, and capital strength to help them make the most
of financial opportunities.
*The 2016 Safeguarding Our Seniors Study was conducted in August
2016 with 1,000 panel respondents age 18-64 who are either actively
providing care for a nonspousal elder age 65+, or could be in a position
to provide such care within the next five years.
**Active caregivers are defined as currently providing care for an
elder. Potential caregivers are defined as someone who could be in a
position to provide care to an elder in the next five years. A caregiver
is defined as someone who provides financial, emotional or social
support to a family member or friend age 65+.
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America