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NPR story calculates the cost of at-home caregiving

elderly care

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When Marilyn Geewax of NPR saw foreclosures and apartment vacancies increasing three years ago, she wondered where people had gone. “They had to be someplace,” she says.

She found Census data showing a 10 percent jump in number of households with multiple generations of adults. That prompted NPR’s series Family Matters: The Money Squeeze, which profiles three families.

The most recent segment explores the costs of at-home caregiving. Citing a MetLife report, the segment notes the typical woman’s lost wages average nearly $143,000. “That figure reflects the wages lost while not working — typically for about five years — as well as lower wages after returning to the workforce with rusty skills. When foregone pension and Social Security benefits are counted, the out-of-pocket losses roughly double.”

Today’s Tip: Use insurance company studies and newsletters to gather data.

Marilyn Geewax

The MetLife study provided a lot of data for the segment, including annual costs for various types of adult care.

Reporters can find studies by searching for insurance companies online. Also, AARP offers data, Marilyn says.

The profiled families in the segment responded to Facebook queries, she says. She suggests reporters contact the Office of Aging in their areas, community centers and church groups to find families.

Another angle to consider is the lack of community resources to handle elderly care, Marilyn says. Many community centers and aging programs have had funding cuts.

 

About the Author

Rosland Gammon is a former business journalist turned college instructor. Her newsroom experience includes reporting for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and reporting and editing at Bloomberg News. Gammon currently teaches communications at Alverno College in Milwaukee. Follow her daily posts. | E-mail: Rosland Gammon

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