As health care becomes more expensive, fewer people will be around to deliver it, according to a recent report released by the AARP.
Titled “The Aging of the Baby Boom and the Growing Care Gap: A Look at Future Declines in the Availability of Family Caregivers”, the document details an upcoming scarcity in caregivers, specifically family caregivers, who will be available to provide long term care services over the next few decades. With more Baby Boomers preparing to enter retirement every day, this new report raises questions about how the medical and long term care systems in the country can afford to support such a massive population of people.
Shift in Family Dynamics
Modern technology has led to a change in the way families are situated, namely in terms of location. Families are spreading out further than previous generations, moving across the country and leaving aging parents in homes by themselves. Despite this trend, people continue to believe their families will be there to care for them if they happen to suffer a fall, stroke, or other medical incident that can lead to long term care.
A recent AP survey found that most people expect their family to fill the gap should they ever need a caretaker, despite the alarming fact that 6 in 10 haven’t even broached the subject with their loved ones. Such an expectation can lead to confusion during a time of crisis, which is why putting a plan in place for a potential long term care situation is such a vital part of retirement planning.
The reality is, your children or other relatives may be unable to provide the care you expect in a time of need. Government estimates place the risk of needing long term care at 50%, meaning 1 in every 2 Americans will need some form of long term care during their lifetime. There is no way to predict whether or not you will need care, and although it may never happen to you, being mentally and financially prepared can make all the difference.
Questions to Consider
There are a number of factors that affect how people pay for and receive care, so consider your individual circumstances before making any plans. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
1) How likely is it that you will need care?
Do you currently suffer from obesity, Diabetes, or other health problems? Do you have a family history of heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, or another form of dementia? Analyzing your family history and your own health will help you determine whether or not you are at a high risk of needing care. Those with a family history of disease, especially Alzheimer’s or dementia, should be especially active in planning for future care.
2) What type of care would you prefer?
If you need care, would you rather remain in your own home or move into a facility? If you stayed at home, would any home modifications be necessary? In-home care is becoming increasingly popular, as it is cheaper and typically more comfortable for the patient. Be sure to think about which would work best for you.
3) What is your financial standing?
If you know you will qualify for Medicaid, then your long term care services will be covered under the government run program. If, however, you have assets to protect, then developing a financial plan for retirement is crucial to not outliving your savings. Long term care insurance can help safeguard your nest egg while helping cover the cost of long term care should you end up in need.
Long term care insurance is not for every one, but for those people who are nearing retirement age and have assets to protect, a policy is a smart investment. Like any insurance, you may never end up using it, but that doesn’t prevent people from purchasing car or home owner’s insurance, so why should long term care insurance be any different?
The growing cost of care can quickly have a massive impact on savings. One of the top long term care insurance companies recently conducted a study and found that nursing homes average more than $93,000 a year, a shocking price that when paid out-of-pocket, can cause financial ruin. An independent agent can help you determine whether or not long term care insurance is right for you, and which policy best fits your health and financial needs.
We will help you shop the market, providing you with a side-by-side comparison of the top companies for you to look over on your own time. For more information, request a quote now and we will be in touch with you shortly.