Amy Goyer has been a family caregiver her entire adult life. In her 20s, she assisted her grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. In recent years, she gave up her full-time job at AARP to help her mother who had a stroke and then her father who developed Alzheimer’s (both moved into her house), as well as her older sister. Goyer knew how to help them with their health. But the staggering caregiving costs, which turned into staggering credit card bills, were something she hadn’t prepared for.
“I wish I’d met with a financial adviser from the very beginning who would have kept me on track and maybe been able to steer me in different directions that would have avoided bankruptcy”
Family caregiving has also been a financial catastrophe for Janet Harris, 60, of rural Stony Mountain, Ga. who’s been unemployed after losing her job of 23 years at the American Cancer Society. Since 2019, Harris has been assisting her husband Alonzo, 75, a retired car salesman who has had prostate cancer and liver cancer and is now blind after having a stroke.
In her remarkable new book about caregiver burnout, “Already Toast,” journalist Kate Washington notes that she lost $80,000 in income so she could work less and help her husband Brad, who was diagnosed with cancer, recuperate from a stem-cell transplant.
There’s a lot of talk about different kinds of marriage penalties in the tax code (when being legally married puts you at a disadvantage relative to...