In recent weeks, I wrote about the risk of long term care and the devastating impact it can have, especially when a family acts on misinformation. However, given the likelihood that most seniors will need some form of long term care assistance, and the sobering reality that there are limited ways to pay those costs, this is an issue that must be discussed before a crisis arises.
According to AARP, eight thousand people a day in this country turn age 65 . . . and that trend will continue for approximately the next 15 years. If seventy percent of those seniors need long term care, as current statistics suggest, and those costs are not covered by the typical insurance policy, planning is the only solution to avoid potentially devastating consequences.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of addressing this situation before a crisis occurs. I have met with too many spouses or children, distraught because their spouse or parent is now in crisis and they are desperate for help. It is excruciating to tell them that their options are likely now very limited, and usually more expensive.
As I will discuss over the next several columns, I am a firm believer that the fear of long term care can be lessened by addressing it directly. The first step is to address this issue with family, who are often left to pick up the pieces when a crisis hits (an issue I will discuss next week. Adult children should raise the issue even if their parents seem hesitant. The discussion should address what would happen should one parent need to move into assisted living. How would that cost be paid? Will there be sufficient to pay that cost and provide for the spouse who remains at home? In order to avoid acting on incorrect information, that discussion should eventually involve a knowledgeable professional.
The good news is that, in my experience, accounting for long term care issues does not necessarily require a significant change in your approach. However, if the issue is ignored all together, the consequences can be devastating.
© 2015 Steven J Wright