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ASA: Stroke Caregiving Costs Higher Than Previously Thought

Average annual cost for caregiving for elderly stroke survivor estimated at $11,300

caregiver and seniors

THURSDAY, Feb. 18, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Stroke survivors receive an average of 22 hours of caregiving per week, with the cost of caregiving for an elderly stroke survivor estimated at $11,300 annually, according to a study presented at the annual American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference, held from Feb. 17 to 19 in Los Angeles.

Lesli Skolarus, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined whether caregiving differs between stroke survivors and matched controls, and compared the costs of caregiving, using an expanded definition. Data were included for 892 stroke survivors from the 2011 wave of the National Health and Aging Trends Study. A matched sample of non-stroke controls was created by one-to-one propensity matching on demographics and comorbidities. Using reported caregiving data and estimates of informal costs, annual costs of caregiving were calculated.

The researchers found that stroke survivors received about 10 hours/week of additional caregiving, on average, compared with controls (22 versus 12 hours; P < 0.01). For an elderly stroke survivor, the estimated average annual cost for caregiving was about $11,300, which corresponds to a total cost of approximately $40 billion annually among all Medicare beneficiaries.

"Our expanded definition of caregiving suggests that prior studies may underestimate both the time and costs invested in caregiving to older stroke survivors," the authors write.

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