Do You Have a Long Term Care Plan?
Do you have a plan for your long-term care when you become a senior? When the time comes and it finally becomes harder for you to perform daily activities on your own, it is important to know what you want to do. Will you move in with children or other relatives? Hire a caregiver to come to your home? Move to an assisted living facility? Go it alone for as long as possible? Whatever your decision it is important to understand the full physical, financial, and emotional impact on yourself and your loved ones.
You may have experience as a caregiver for a parent or friend and can recall the personal impact it takes to care for another. In a survey completed by the National Alliance for Caregiving, caregivers surveyed found their overall health diminish while providing for others (1). The poll reported that 15% said their health became a lot worse, 44% moderately worse, and 41% a little worse. In total, 53% of the caregivers interviewed also reported that their own health impacted their ability to provide care.
Additionally, the financial impact of long-term care is significant. Reduced hours in the workplace, being distracted while at work, taking on additional work to cover costs, and discontinuing work all impact future income potential of caregivers (2). Thus the financial burden of being a caretaker can also decrease the quality of care provided over time. However, if you do choose to pay for outside care, do you know how you will provide for it? Can you take it out of your retirement savings, or if not, do you have insurance in place to help cover the costs? Both care within a family and outside care have different financial burdens.
Lastly, the emotional impact of having a loved one care for you day in and day should not be neglected. The sometimes-constant care needed in old age can put a strain on the relationship you have built over the years with your caregiver, as they may not be used to fulfilling such a role.
It is only after assessing the full physical, financial, and emotional impact of different long-term care options that you can make the right decision for yourself and those that you love. A long term care insurance broker can help you evaluate the options available to you such as: long term care insurance, life insurance with a long term care insurance rider, an annuity with a long term care rider, life insurance with a chronic illness rider, private pay, or a blended approach using some of these. Long-term care planning is an extremely personal decision and there is no one correct answer for how to go about preparing, it is just essential that you do so.
(1) Evercare Study of Caregivers in Decline by National Alliance for Caregiving September 2006
(2) The Evercare Survey of The Economic Downturn and its Impact on Family Caregiving, National Alliance for Caregiving, April 28, 2009