4 Hidden Costs of Informal Care: Why Hire an Elderly Care Franchise?

Why hire an elderly care franchise?

Today’s post tackles this common question from the point of view of the care recipient. Taking a holistic perspective, we highlight 4 risks of informal care that can be eliminated by hiring an elderly care franchise. Read on to learn how the Executive Advantage can improve quality of life for your aging loved one, and find out how to book a consultation for free.

What is informal care?

The Journal of Family and Economic Issues describes “informal care” as a broad range of services that include “housework, home and property maintenance and repair, home adaptations, shopping for goods and services, management of financial affairs, transportation, care management, and personal care” (Fast et al., 1999, p. 303-304).

Informal care stands in contrast to publicly funded, institutionally based care programs, as well as private custom-care services like those arranged with an elderly care franchise. There are several important differences, the most obvious of which can be seen in terms of the quality of care being delivered (think ‘amateur’ versus ‘professional’) and the fact that informal carers are not paid.

Why do families turn to informal caregivers?

There is an enduring myth that informal family caregivers are superior because they “care about the care receiver as well as care for them” (Fast et al., 1999, p. 303). And while it’s true that formal caregivers will never love your family like you do, that doesn’t mean the care they provide is inferior.

In fact, as we will show, informal care is often quite hard on the recipients.

The hidden costs of informal care for care recipients

  • Higher stress for care recipients. There is a considerable amount of evidence that suggests informal care is stressful for the recipient, who may feel conflicted between needing assistance and not wanting to be a burden (Fast et al., 1999, p. 307). Conversely, seniors know they can rely on formal caregivers for assistance without feeling guilty – that’s their job, after all!

In fact, some studies have found that the psychological morale of elders is inversely associated with their level of informal care. Put another way, that means more informal care leads to poorer emotional well-being, which flies in the face of what most people assume in regards to formal vs. informal care (Fast et al., 1999, p. 307).

  • Increase risk of elder abuse and neglect. Surprisingly, studies cited by the Journal of Family and Economic Issues suggest that the stress and burden of informal caregiving in addition to career and family obligations often becomes overwhelming for caregivers and, thus, increases the care recipients’ risk of elder abuse and neglect (Fast et al., 1999, p. 309).
  • Out-of-pocket expenditures. Many care recipients provide financial assistance to relatives who help them with the daily activities of living in a “deliberate attempt at reciprocity” (Fast et al., 1999, p. 309).
  • Unpaid labor. As mentioned previously, some informal care receivers find accepting assistance easier when they’re able to reciprocate. And those who lack the financial means to do so may take on labor tasks like housework and child care to feel better about the care they’re getting. In fact, Hogan, Eggebeen, and Clogg (1993) reported that 19% of U.S. parents were involved in similar “support exchange situations,” which end up wearing care recipients out when they ought to be relaxing and enjoying their Golden Years.

Visit https://www.executivehomecare.com to find a qualified formal caregiver in your area.


Fast, J. E., Williamson, D. L., & Keating, N. C. (1999).The hidden costs of informal elder care.Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 20(3), 301-326.

Hogan, D., Eggebeen, D., &Clogg, C. (1993) The structure of intergenerational exchanges in American families. American Journal of Psychology, 6, 1428-1458.

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