grandparentsAlmost half (46 percent) of family caregivers spend more than $5,000 per year on caregiving expenses, according to a recent report. Of those, 19 percent spend $20,000 or more each year. Another 20 percent of caregivers do not know how much they spend.

A family caregiver is defined as someone who takes care of a family member or friend without compensation. Expenses include out-of-pocket costs for medications, medical bills, in-home care, nursing homes and more.

Employment is also significantly impacted by caregiving responsibilities, according to the report: 33 percent of family caregivers spend more than 30 hours per week on caregiving; 50 percent have made changes to their work schedule to accommodate caregiving; and 17 percent have missed a significant amount of work. Retirement plans can be derailed or delayed, as well, if caregiving expenses are pulled from retirement savings and investments.

“Caregiving can be a startlingly expensive endeavor that most people aren’t financially prepared for,” said CEO Andy Cohen. “Yet only three in 10 caregivers have spoken to their loved ones about how to pay for care. …an open and honest conversation about finances is a sensitive, but necessary discussion to have.”

Take time to discuss costs of caregiving with your loved ones. The time to research and purchase disability and long-term insurance is before you have a need. If you already are in a position of being a caregiver to a loved one, however, it’s not too late to discuss financial planning strategies for the short- and long-term with your financial advisor.