Two recent articles (links below) describe the terrible cost to families when they provide care for a loved one, and even worse when it is dementia.
Currently, 40 million Americans are caregivers, and the cost is far more than money. It involves loss of time with other family members, cancelled trips, lost promotions, time away from work, loss of job, loss of sleep, loss of keeping up with a career, and yes, loss of money as well.
Some people simply cannot do this, they cannot abandon their children who need them. They cannot live with criticism from siblings who will not or cannot help out, or worse yet, refuse to accept the fact that their parents are failing.
Dementia is the worst, with 57% of caregivers going to work late, leaving early, or taking time off. For physical care it is only 47% but this still takes a toll on career and the workplace loses as well. 9% give up their careers entirely – can your children afford to do this?
Then come the legal and financial woes, do your parents have durable power of attorney established? With whom? How long ago was this set up? How about power of attorney for health care? Can anyone find the documents and how old are they? Without these documents, thousands of dollars may be spent getting a guardianship which then requires reporting to a judge about what you have done with their money each year.
If you have not discussed this with your children, do you plan to drop this burden on them by surprise? With no planning and a sudden realization that complex care is required, often the solution of care at home is already gone and an institution is the only answer.
Institutions are very expensive and if family helps pay for care, will they be also able to contribute to their own retirement savings?
The early baby boomers are starting to hit 70. Their children are in the most demanding parts of their careers. By age 65, one in eight has Alzheimer’s. By 75 it is one in four and at 85 it affects half of us. Over half of all long-term care is for dementia and Alzheimer’s is only one type of dementia.
Fortunately there are solutions for some. Even when care is already needed, there are ways to stretch the funds available or protect some.
For those who plan in advance to not become a burden on family, the choices are much better and much less expensive as well. You do not want to end up on Medicaid in a Medicaid underfunded institution if at all possible. But the discussion needs to start now while you are still healthy and have more options.
We host many family meetings where ideas can be discussed on how to handle care when and if it becomes necessary. Guidance from experts in handling this is invaluable. Let the experts at www.TheLongTermCareGuy.com help you explore options. Call to schedule a meeting today at (920) 884 3030. We’ve been through this many times before. Here are links to the two recent articles I mentioned: