Families Struggle to Balance Caregiving Duties for Parents. Planning Reduces Burdens and Protects Savings.

Aging is a reality few families are ready for. With care costs being cost high and family caregivers unable to provide quality care, planning helps families focus on providing emotional and physical support for loved ones in need rather than worrying about immediate care issues.

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Families Struggle to Balance Caregiving Duties for Parents. Planning Reduces Burdens and Protects Savings.
8 Min Read February 13th, 2023

Adult children of aging parents may face various challenges when it comes to caregiving. These challenges can range from physical and emotional stress to feelings of guilt and financial strain. Family caregivers often feel overwhelmed with the responsibility, difficulty finding available resources, and managing the emotional toll of caregiving.

Common challenges adult children face include: 

  1. Physical Stress: Caring for an aging parent can be physically demanding and exhausting. Adult children may be needed to provide transportation to medical appointments, help with household chores, and manage medications. 
  2. Emotional Stress: Caregiving for an ill parent can be extremely difficult, as adult children grapple with the emotional ramifications of seeing a once-independent person losing their independence and strength. 
  3. Guilt: Many adult children may feel responsible for the health or well-being of their parents and may feel guilty when they cannot provide them with the care and support they need. 
  4. Financial Strain: Many adult children may have to take time off from work to provide care for their parent or may have to pay for additional medical or in-home assistance. This can put a significant strain financially. 
  5. Social Isolation: Caregiving can be a very isolating experience, as adult children may not have the same access to hobbies or activities they once had due to the amount of time they commit to caregiving. 
  6. Loss of Control: Many adult children may feel they cannot control their own lives as they juggle work, home, and caregiving responsibilities. This can lead to feelings of loss or helplessness.
  7. Professional Care Usually Needed for Quality Care

Seniors place a high value on their quality of life because it gives them a reason to continue living rather than just giving up and accepting their fate. Providing a loved one with quality care services is essential to their overall quality of care. Family caregivers usually lack the skills and the time to provide this care, especially over a long period of time.

Because of these demands on untrained and unpaid family caregivers and the increasing difficulty of providing quality care, families will often bring in professional in-home caregivers. However, many people have not prepared for the financial devastation long-term health care costs can have on families and finances.

Long-term health care costs can put a significant strain on retirement funds. Long-term health care costs have increased significantly in recent years and are expected to continue rising over time. These costs vary depending on the type of service someone may require and where they are living at the time, but the cost of care is not cheap.

The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator illustrates the problem. You can see the current and expected future costs of all types of long-term care services, including in-home care, adult day care centers, assisted living, memory care, and nursing home care.

Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your Location

As you see, these costs can add up quickly, making it difficult to pay for other necessary expenses in retirement, such as food and housing. Additionally, the cost of long-term health care can quickly deplete any cash reserves set aside for the future. In some cases, retirement savings may need to be utilized to cover these costs, resulting in potential financial hardship in retirement.

This hardship can adversely impact someone's lifestyle, especially a healthy spouse who may live for many years beyond the other spouse. The type of care someone may need also affects the cost of care and its consequences on the family.

Consequences of Dementia

Dementia is a good example. Caring for someone with dementia can be very challenging, especially since the condition can cause changes in behavior, cognition, and functioning. Caregivers need to be prepared for frequent mood changes, extreme agitation and aggression, wandering, memory loss, trouble with communication, and difficulty with activities of daily living. 

It is important that caregivers are patient, have a good understanding of the disease, and access the support they need both for themselves and the person they are caring for. Additionally, creating a safe living environment with routines and structure will help keep the person with dementia calm and content.

This is hard for professional caregivers, much less untrained family members, who must also deal with the emotional aspect of a loved one with dementia.

How Do Families Cope with Loved One with Dementia?

Elizabeth Landsverk, MD, author of the book "Living in the Moment," says the onset of dementia is gradual, complicated, and subtle. She says caregivers may grow frustrated, unaware that simple adjustments to daily routines can sometimes make all the difference for a dementia patient.

I have met patients and families struggling to deal with the problems created by faltering mental function, and again and again, I have seen families completely overwhelmed – exhausted to the core, unsure where to go for information, and unable to untangle the intertwining medical, psychological, interpersonal, legal, and practical knots created by a loved one whose ability to think is failing.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Families must find ways to cope that suit their particular situation and provide the best care and support for the person with dementia. Some tips for families include: 

  • Keep communication open and honest. 
  • Educate themselves about dementia and the care of the person with dementia. 
  • Encourage the person with dementia to engage in activities they enjoy. • Practice person-centered care, respect, and understanding.
  • Seek support from local organizations and online sources. 
  • Prepare for end-of-life planning. 
  • Find ways to reduce stress and maintain a positive attitude.

Lack of Funds Means Medicaid 

Professional caregivers make it much easier for the family to cope with the situation. If there are not enough financial resources available to pay for quality long-term care services, then the care recipient may end up needing to access Medicaid.

Medicaid will pay for long-term care services only if the care recipient has little o no income and assets. Medicare and traditional health insurance do not cover most long-term care services. Most long-term health includes services such as custodial care and helps with activities like bathing and dressing. Medicare will cover limited amounts of skilled care, such as skilled nursing care or physical therapy, at approved facilities for a limited amount of time. Otherwise, personal income and savings will be needed to pay for care.

LTC Insurance – Planning for Quality Care and Asset Protection

Long-Term Care Insurance is available and has become a popular way for many families to plan for the changes they will experience in their health, body, and mind as they age. LTC Insurance will pay for all types of long-term health care services, including in-home care. This includes both skilled, semi-skilled, and custodial services. The policyholder, and their family, get to decide how to use the benefits.

What is Long-Term Care Insurance - What Does It Cover?

Long-term care recipients want more options, more freedom, more autonomy, and better service. Long-Term Care Insurance helps provide the resources to give them what they want. Quality care is not cheap, but you and your loved ones deserve quality care without going broke. LTC Insurance is a solution.

Reasons People Need Long-Term Health Care

There are many reasons someone may need help with everyday living activities or supervision due to dementia. Some of these include:

  1. Advanced age: As people age, their physical and mental abilities may decline. Long-term health care assists with daily living activities and other specialized care for the elderly. 
  2. Chronic illness or injury: Long-term health care is often necessary when a person struggles to cope with a chronic illness or injury, such as a stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, or cancer, for example. 
  3. Dementia and Alzheimer's disease: Individuals living with Alzheimer's disease or dementia often need specialized care and supervision from trained professionals. Often someone with advanced dementia or Alzheimer's will need care in long-term health care facilities or memory care facilities.

At Home Care Often Preferred

There is no question that most people will feel more secure and happy in their homes. There are situations where a care recipient will be safer and better cared for in a long-term care facility, but most Long-Term Care Insurance claims will start with in-home care.

Home care services include everything from sporadic companionship to ongoing supervision. Home-care providers can offer the following services as needed or on a regular daily or weekly basis; they are often not nurses but rather nurses aides, depending on the level of care a care recipient may require.

These include:

  • Companionship and transportation (to and from doctor's appointments)
  • Assistance with toileting, dressing, and taking a bath
  • Prescription reminders
  • Preparing meals
  • Maintenance and laundry
  • Respite care

Plus, those needing these more skilled services may receive visits from medical professionals such as nurses and physical therapists.

Staying in comfortable settings, extra assistance for family caregivers, flexible scheduling options, and individualized care are all advantages of home care.

Are You Prepared for Aging?

Preparing for the consequences of aging is essential for individuals to ensure that they have adequate provisions for the future of their health and well-being. Planning ahead for any potential health and aging issues that may arise can be incredibly beneficial in later life and help ensure someone has access to their choice of quality care services without burdening their loved ones. 

Additionally, planning for the financial impact of future long-term health care can help protect individuals from financial worries when they get older and their health, body, or mind decline. 

Finally, having an emotional and social support network can provide comfort and strength if life's challenges become overwhelming and place stress and burden on the entire family. Long-Term Care Insurance provides the resources to ensure quality care and reduce the burden that is usually placed on family members.

Long-Term Care Insurance offers guaranteed tax-free resources to help someone maintain control. Not only will you protect your 401(k) and other assets, your loved ones will have time to be family and not have to become caregivers.

Long-term care planning helps reduce the burden on your family by allowing you to maintain independence. It ensures that the cost of long-term health care won't dry out a significant amount of your savings. 

Additionally, your family can rest assured knowing you will be cared for with quality care when you need the care. Planning ahead can provide the entire family a sense of security and peace of mind.

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About the Author

Linda is a freelance writer interested in retirement planning, health and aging.

LTC News Contributor Linda Kople

Linda Kople

Contributor since October 31st, 2017

Editor's Note

Do you have Long-Term Care Insurance yet? An LTC policy is an important factor to include in retirement planning because it covers the costs associated with treatments, such as nursing home care and home health care, related to injuries, chronic illnesses, and dementia.

Additionally, it is important to consider the emotional and financial burdens that can come from having to care for an elderly parent. With Long-Term Care Insurance, you can provide the care needed for you or a loved one without placing that burden on your family.

Lastly, while most people receive Long-Term Care Insurance benefits for in-home care, if you need or desire a move to a retirement living community, such as an assisted living facility or continuing care retirement community, having Long-Term Care Insurance can help to offset the much higher costs associated with that care.

When looking to the future, it is important to factor in Long-Term Care Insurance as part of your retirement plan. Most people obtain coverage in their 50s when premiums are lower and good health allows for more options and savings.

Use a Long-Term Care Insurance Specialist to Help You Plan

Using a Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you shop for coverage can help ensure that you get the most coverage for your money. A specialist can help you understand the different types of policies available to you, discuss riders and policies you may not be aware of, and provide valuable advice on which policies best meet your needs. 

Additionally, a specialist can help you to understand the tax implications associated with Long-Term Care Insurance and how it fits into retirement planning. Having the help of a specialist to evaluate the potential costs and coverage of different policies can save you time and money.

A qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist will match you with the best company to save you money. A specialist will put together accurate quotes from all the top companies based on your age, health, family history, and other factors.

Accurate Answers to Your Questions About Long-Term Care Planning

LTC NEWS provides news, advice, and resources to help seniors, their families, and caregivers better understand long-term health care planning. LTC NEWS also provides ratings of insurance companies and reviews of different long-term care insurance policies. This can help you make an informed decision about which policy is best for you and your loved ones. All these resources can help you in your research as you prepare for your future retirement and plan for the costs and burdens of aging and declining health.

Parent’s Health Declining? Do They Need Care Now?

Get quality care for your parent or parents if they require it. LTC NEWS can assist. We've put together a few comprehensive guides to help you along the way.

Find help locating quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim.

Make sure your loved one uses their Long-Term Care Insurance if they are fortunate enough to have it. Families sometimes postpone taking advantage of the benefits thinking family members can provide care, saving the benefits for later when it is deemed "more necessary."

Delaying the use of available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a good idea. The policy provides you with access to quality care when someone needs it. It also gives loved one’s time to family instead of caregivers.

These guides can be very helpful as you try to find appropriate long-term care services for a loved one:

Today's Reverse Mortgages Can Benefit Older Families

Some people have a large portion of their savings in their homes. With the help of reverse mortgages, you can find ways to pay for quality in-home care, pay for LTC Insurance, and even assist with cash flow during retirement.

Yes, today's reverse mortgages may be the perfect way to pay for a Long-Term Care Insurance policy or even cover the cost of in-home care if you or a loved one is currently in need.

Asking an expert with your questions will help you learn more. Mike Banner, a columnist for LTC NEWS and the host of the television program "62 Who Knew," will respond to your inquiries about long-term care, reverse mortgages, aging, and health.

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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