Who Will Care For Single Adults Needing LTC?


Studies indicate that people over the age of 65 years will need some form of long-term care help. Genworth said sixty-six percent would need extra care while The Inquiry said seven out of ten would need it for at least three years. Most people rely on a family member, a spouse or a partner for help. But what happens when an individual has none of the above? Who can they count on for help in an emergency or when they get sick?

The folks who have children don’t want to be a bother either, but at least they have a choice. They may not want to, but older adults rely on family caregivers the most for help. Today, there are over 43 million family members providing some form of elder care for a person 50+ years of age (Family Caregiver Alliance.) But the U.S. Census (2010) reports that 11 million people over the age of 65 live alone, and that number will likely increase. AARP is worried because family members give the majority of long-term care support. And they agree that number is taking a skydive too because 11.6% of women (80 to 84) are childless.

Since adult children are the lifeblood of elder care, and I don’t have a child, it’s a concern for me. Up until now, I haven’t thought too much about it. But since I work in senior care and read the alarming stats of long-term care, it’s time I do.

How did so many get through the child-bearing stage and not have one? The Pew Research study says, “The most educated women still are among the most likely never to have had a child.” And the baby boomer generation surpasses in childlessness over any other peer group.

The other factors found by Pew Research on this theme:

Today, society has a compliant view of people without children, and many adults no longer believe that those without them “lead empty lives.” The population’s attitude of us increased to 59% in 2002 from 39% in the late ’80’s, according to the General Social Survey. Plus, the survey found that children are less significant to a thriving marriage. In 2007, a Pew Research survey unveiled 41% of adults to declare that children are crucial for a successful marriage, a decline from 65% who said so in 1990.

But since the supply of family caregivers diminish, it’s prudent for both parties, the haves, and the have-nots, to get organized around their long-term care preferences. Years from now, when you’re old and frail, you’ll thank me for suggesting it.

Elder Care 101

There are significant facts about aging care that every person must know. First, it’s more expensive than you think. And most of the costs of long-term care comes out of your pocket. To help you plan for senior care later on, you must understand the details about the services that are and are not covered.

  1. Medicare does not pay for long-term custodial care services, the kind that help you with everyday activities of living needs. Medicare only pays for the medically necessary care like acute medical care, doctor visits, drugs, and a hospital stay.
  2. Medicaid is a combined program offered by the federal and state governments. It helps individuals living with low income and assets, and it pays for some of the health care expenses. Medicaid has stringent regulations on who are eligible for the benefits and the services covered.
  3. Paying for long-term care out-of-pocket is your option if you have enough money and savings. A LOT OF MONEY AS NURSING HOMES EXCEED $100,000 PER YEAR NOW IN 2015 AND WILL DOUBLE IN COST BY 2030
  4. Health insurance covers the restricted and particular types of long-term care. Disability insurance replaces income and does not include long-term care services and supports.
  5. Long-term care insurance pays for long-term supports and services. But before you buy a policy, know the daily amount it will pay to assist you with the activities of daily living requirements.  NOBODY WOULD BUY INSURANCE WITHOUT KNOWING HOW MUCH IT COVERS. ALSO CONSIDER THAT LIFESTYLE CHANGES MAY FREE UP CASH FLOW FROM TRAVEL, TOYS, ETC., THUS LESS COVERAGE MAY BE NEEDED.

That’s the basics. Here are other strategies for an LTC plan, according to me. It improvises for the lack of family members (adult children).

  • Draw up legal documents: a will, a living will, a healthcare proxy and a power of attorney.
  • Share a home with like-minded friends and siblings. Create a “share the care” approach that serves each resident equally. Draw up legal papers outlining each person’s responsibilities; one that makes each party accountable.
  • Live nearby the metro line.
  • Choose a walkable neighborhood.
  • Find a trustworthy person or family you can depend on for support and care. Work out a payment strategy and put it in writing. Get legal advice prior to implementing a plan. An elder law attorney can steer you in the right direction. Perform a comprehensive due diligence on the strategy and the person(s) before signing anything.
  • Hire a chronic care advocate if you live with a prolonged medical condition, preferably an attorney specializing in elder law.
  • Make friends with the supportive type.
  • Eat fresh, healthy foods.
  • Stay fit.
  • Keep your brain sharp by getting involved.
  • Volunteer and help those in need.
  • Take up hobbies that fulfill your curiosity.

InHomeCare.com has additional information in their Resource Guide.

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