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The ‘Real’ Costs of Raising a Child With a Medical Condition

It is amazing how every month there is a new study coming out about the ‘costs’ of raising children, with monetary values being thrown around like a house auction. Some of the figures add up to nearly half a million dollars to get them to adulthood.

Raising them to school age; Raising them to their teen age years or raising them to 18. If you raise them to 18 it could be $200K at a public school, then if you want a private school you are up for $400K plus, all of the results differing from the last study.

When I see these figures and graphs I have to laugh because if I didn’t laugh I would cry. I would really like to know where these figures come from, as you can bet they are not from everyday families with children that require ongoing medical treatment.

I have a child with Type 1 Diabetes and like many families I really disagree with these sorts of calculation – theses studies NEVER take into consideration the added expenses incurred by a medical condition or any ongoing care required by a child with an illness.

Quite often families that have a child with a medical condition have a lot of added expenses, and in some cases one of the parents has to become a full time carer and is unable to continue or return to the work force.

This immediately puts a strain on the families’ finances, so you now have to find the $200-400 K for raising this child and any siblings, on only one wage. Not to mention the ongoing costs of specialists visits, medical equipment to manage their condition and the day-to-day expenses needed just to get by.

This then leads us to another very big set of costs – emotional.

Emotional costs are one of the highest expenses families face, but these are not usually considered as they can’t be measured with money. However they have a huge impact on families with children that require constant medical treatment and care.

Some may not consider these as legitimate costs as they are not measured in monetary form but they do affect the family and the overall income that can be earned. If one parent is always with the child for medical visits the other one has to be on call for the other siblings or may need to be at the hospital too, thus reducing their time at work and overall income.

Like many other families this ’emotional cost’ has been our biggest. Our son is not a normal diabetic – he was diagnosed at only 14 months of age and is one of only a few people in the world allergic to insulin (the one thing that keeps him alive).

For the past 10 years our expenses have been extremely high: jobs, family time, health, sleep deprivation, constant travel to Doctors, loss of schooling due to illness, and the strain of our relationship as a family have been just a few of the every day things we contend with, and all of this is ON TOP of the financial costs.

For families dealing with a child that has a medical condition the ‘financial strain’ can be just the thing that takes them to breaking point, as this is usually because money is the only true thing that can be measured.

If a monetary value was to be put on a child’s quality of life, or a mother’s full nights sleep, a sibling’s quality one-on-one parent time, the figures would be greatly increased and the mere $200-400K expert predict would look like coin you could throw into a fountain.

The ‘Real Cost’ of raising a child with a medical condition cannot be measured financially – because if you did, it would bring you to tears.

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Copyright 2018 - Helen Frohloff