The negative impact of being caregivers of family members is growing as the United States' aging population's need for long-term care services are on the rise. Longevity planning should be an integral part of every retirement plan, but many times the need for advance planning goes uncompleted. This leaves many adult children and other family members caring for aging parents.
According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, approximately 34 million unpaid caregivers in the United States provide care for individuals ages 50 or older. Almost half of those caregivers are taking care of someone with Alzheimer's or some form of dementia. In addition to taking care of their parents, many caregivers are also taking care of their own family members. This can take an emotional, financial, and physical toll on the caregiver. Many are exhausted and diminish their own needs to satisfy the needs of their loved ones.
Many studies have been conducted, and the results are staggering. 68% of unpaid caregivers report that they have to use their own funds to care for and provide for their family member that has a long-term care need. In addition to the financial burden, almost 50% report they feel their physical health suffers because of their caregiver status.
Caregivers Face Pressure
Most caregivers are female, close to 75%, and many of them report feeling pressure, stress, and financial burden by their family member long-term care needs.
Although caregivers' average age is 49, about 25% of those providing long-term care for a family member are millennials. There is additional pressure placed on them as they are many times having to choose between their careers and caregiving.
Without proper long-term care planning, not only do millennials suffer, but many working caregivers have to make tough choices when it comes to their careers. Many have stated they have had to do everything from taking leaves of absence, coming in late, leaving early, turning down promotions, and even taking early retirement to accommodate their family member's needs with a long-term care event.
Long-Term Care Includes Care at Home
Many people think of long-term care as end of life or nursing home planning, but the reality is long-term care is assistance one needs when they are no longer able to perform everyday tasks or activities of daily living independently.
It also includes the care or supervision needed if someone has a cognitive or senility issue. Currently, 52% of new claims for long-term care start in the home. You could need care for years, and without proper planning, you could become a burden and leave their care needs up to their family and friends.
Most families have not discussed long-term care, including the costs, and the emotional drain on caregivers. Studies show caregivers are likely to neglect their own health care needs when caring for a loved one. Many do not have routine check-ups, dental visits, or even go to the doctor when they are sick or in need because of their role as caregiver. The deterioration of a caregiver's physical and mental well-being has been well documented, and proper planning needs to be done to prevent such damage.
LTC Insurance Eases Family Strain
Experts agree that having affordable Long-Term Care Insurance is an appropriate alternative to leaving the responsibility of caregiving to loved ones. Long-Term Care Insurance policies allow for care to be provided where and how a person wants or needs it; be that at home, assisted living, or in a full care facility like a nursing home.
Many policies also provide additional family support, such as respite care support and care coordination. Removing the burden of care from family members while protecting your retirement assets is a responsible way for managing future long-term care needs.
The best approach is to seek professional advice from a specialist. Most financial advisors and general insurance agents do not necessarily have the expertise to assist with these complex products.
About the Author
Liz Pace is a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and has her Certification in Long-Term Care (CLTC). She is a client centered Wealth Management Expert who specializes in wealth management and long-term care solutions
Contributor since August 14th, 2020
The resources on LTC NEWS will help you prepare your family and finances for the financial costs and burdens that come with longevity. As you prepare for your future retirement, better consider the consequences long-term care will have on you and your loved ones.
Remember, long-term care is both a cash flow problem and a family problem. The right solution will safeguard savings and income and ease the stress and burden otherwise placed on your family.
Use the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator and find both the current and future cost of care services where you live. Click here and see the financial impact.
Experts suggest planning when you still enjoy relatively good health. The ideal time is in your 40s or 50s. Be sure to seek a trusted and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist. The specialist should represent the major insurance companies and have substantial experience in all the policy types available to you.
Find a trusted and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist by clicking here.
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