You might hate the term "hey boomer," but there are many people who fit the age demographic. The Chicago Tribune reported that the youngest baby boomers are now in their mid-50s, and the oldest are in their 70s. The boomers are getting older, and many have already retired, and the Late-Boomers and Generation X are also aging in mass numbers.
Numerous companies face unexpected retirements. The Chicago Tribune reported that in the next five years, "almost three-quarters of the companies surveyed in 2018 by Willis Towers Watson, a risk-management and insurance brokerage company, expect to face significant or moderate challenges from late retirements. But because nothing is predictable, a significant share are also worried about early ones."
The impact of COVID-19 has made even more people leave the workforce and retire early either because they are fearful of the workplace or needed to leave their jobs to become a caregiver for an older parent or family member.
Even before the virus crisis, more and more people were retiring out of necessity because they needed to care for an elderly parent. When someone needs long-term health care, there is often no planning done in advance, leading to a family crisis. This crisis management means quick decisions need to be made on providing care for a parent or finding the funds to buy professional care.
Family caregivers are usually untrained and unprepared for this demanding job. Long-term health care is very expensive and gets more costly every year - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News.
About 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 each day. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that about 70 percent of people who reach age 65 will require help with at least one major activity of daily living (ADL), and half of us will need more significant long-term care with at least two or more ADLs.
South Carolina is among states with a fast-growing aging population, with natives and career-related transplants being supplemented by a flow of older people moving here as a destination in later life.
Other states are having issues with labor shortages, and many facilities cannot staff adequately, and home health agencies are in need of more in-home care providers. Increasing demand and labor shortages are putting additional pressure on long-term care costs and family finances.
More and more, the need for long-term care approaches the crisis level as people live longer. That means family members are often thrust into participation, whether ready or not, says Chris Orestis, senior health care advocate and CEO of Life Care Funding.
“In many situations, the need for care will creep up on a family.”
“Suddenly, people realize they have assumed duties that take up more and more of their time and take a toll on their lives.”Chris Orestis, senior health-care advocate and CEO of Life Care Funding
Roles of Family Members
Over the years, he says, he has seen these family members gravitate naturally to roles that fall into several stereotypes.
• Caretaker – This person provides care for the loved one at home and, without realizing it, becomes a full-time caregiver. Usually, this is a spouse or an adult child, most often a daughter.
• Bookkeeper – This person focuses on the financial aspects, determining what assets or insurance policies are available to help with the costs of care.
• Chauffeur – This family member drives the loved one to appointments, runs errands, makes grocery runs, and eventually may drive the aging loved one to tour assisted-living facilities.
• Guardian – This family member takes on such roles as a power of attorney or trustee, assuming the legal responsibilities within the family.
• Denier – This person cannot accept or admit that the loved one, or they themselves, need care.
• Know-it-all – Most annoying of all, this family member constantly questions decisions or lobs suggestions from the backbench but isn't near the situation or involved hands-on.
With such a lineup, it's easy for resentments to build, Orestis says, but that needs to be avoided because the focus should be on the aging loved one and ease the transition if a decision is made to move into a nursing home or assisted-living facility.
Eventually, once it's clear professional long-term care is needed and a plan is in place to make it happen, a conversation needs to take place with the loved one, who may be apprehensive or even resistant, Orestis says.
The conversation should be handled with compassion and delicacy, he says. Emphasize that not only will this move improve their health and safety, but there will be numerous opportunities for social activities, games, art, entertainment, and great food.
As in most every instance of life decisions, finding common ground is vital.
“The key is for the family to come together. Look for the signs that care is needed, formulate a plan, communicate effectively with your loved ones and change the perspective about long-term care from a negative to a safe, healthy and enriching experience in the continuing journey of life.”
Part of this article originally appeared on TandD.com: The realities of long-term care for elderly - http://thetandd.com/news/opinion/editorial/the-realities-of-long-term-care-for-elderly/article_787a3a02-f46f-5478-ad82-98e8b848bc7b.html
About the Author
An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.
Contributor since August 21st, 2017
Don't place the entire responsibility of caregiving or managing your care on the shoulders of your family members. Without an advance plan, this role is often a daughter or daughter-in-law who must balance their career, family, and other responsibilities.
The job of being a family caregiver is not easy as it is physically and emotionally demanding. Many times the family caregiver's family is affected because of the time demands placed on the caregiver.
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