Financial burdens on caregivers and the elderly were announced by the National Institute on Aging today among its top research priorities through 2025.

It asserted the direct economic costs of caregiving to caregivers and society are unknown.

NIA said it wants researchers to seek ways of lessening the financial and emotional stresses on caregivers and elderly family members they attend to.

“Older adults and family members are faced with many complex decisions about medical treatment and various aspects of their retirement, finances, and long-term care that can affect their independence and well-being,” the five-year plan noted.

“Many Americans will require long-term care, but few purchase private insurance to support formal care expense,” the report warned.

The roadmap from NIA Director Richard Hodes said the agency would like to see strategies developed to aid seniors and their families in covering out-of-pocket costs for acute and long-term care and the maintenance of optimal health.

In addition, the federal agency said it intends to devote research dollars to aid in the detection and lessening of financial fraud and abuse facing older adults.

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It said it will place an emphasis on the unique challenges faced by caregivers of patients with dementia.

“Because formal and informal care for older adults with dementia is a major cost for families, private insurers, and the public sector, we will support other studies to help us to quantify and understand the economic impacts associated with care provision and quality of care,” NIA said.

With the massive move of Baby Boomers past 65, NIA said the surge in chronic diseases of the elderly will have profound social and economic effects on the nation.

“Societal aging can affect economic growth, patterns of work and retirement, the way that families function, the ability of governments and communities to provide adequate resources for older adults, and the prevalence of chronic disease and disability,” the whitepaper contended.