Meeting the needs of aging has become a global challenge for families. As we grow older and daily tasks become more complicated, it helps to have support. Many people need support to live safely and comfortably. This isn't always possible when an older adult lives far away from relatives. However, with the proper use of technology (and some other clever strategies), it's still possible to help.
Arguably the most important aspect of elder care is ensuring the individual feels secure and part of a community.
Using video calling platforms such as Google Meets or Zoom, you can connect from anywhere in the world.
Social media is an invaluable asset for lonely seniors looking to make friends or find others with similar interests.
Using online directories, you may be able to point the individual in the direction of local clubs or social events they were otherwise unaware of.
Most seniors want to stay in their homes as long as possible, and there are a few things that can help.
There are some general guidelines that will help seniors preserve their health for as long as possible.
These can be accompanied by habits to stay productive and successful, including several things that can start your day on the right foot.
Consider ways to future-proof bathrooms to support seniors as they age.
Our housing options change as we grow older, and sometimes an individual may need assistance navigating and deciding upon one.
Many seniors do not need to move out of their own property and can receive care and support at home.
If their medical needs are too great, they may require an assisted living residency. These are designed to provide maximum independence.
Residential care homes are for seniors who don't require 24-hour assistance. They provide a certain amount of independence but temper this with medical and practical help.
Daily tasks and chores can often become a struggle, and it helps to have helping hands (even from afar)
One key task for seniors is to settle and organize paperwork. This can often be expedited when you combine PDFs into one file, so they're more readable and arranged more neatly. Or you can peruse the PDF documents they send you, then just extract the needed page from the PDF to send back.
Groceries can represent a problem for many seniors, but you can assist them by ordering deliveries on their behalf.
You might be able to adapt your business practices to facilitate the older generations, helping them with daily functional tasks.
As we grow older, life is never easy, but it is made easier by the use of technology and the kindness of others. Take the initiative, and you could make a difference even if you don't live nearby.
Are You Ready for Old Age?
Many of us still have aging parents and family members, and we see the process of growing old. When declining health, mobility problems, memory issues, and the frailty of aging limit our ability to remain independent, our family will need to step in - unless we have had the foresight of proper planning.
Richard J. Hodes, M.D., the Director of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health, says that older people are a rapidly growing proportion of the world's population.
People are living longer, but that does not necessarily mean that they are living healthier. The increase in our aging population presents many opportunities and also several public health challenges that we need to prepare for. NIA has partnered with Census to provide the best possible data so that we can better understand the course and implications of population aging.
Long-Term Care Costs are Growing
Professional long-term health care services can be costly. Even in-home care is expensive, and these costs rise sharply yearly. If you are 50 today, the cost of in-home care in the year 2052 will average about $10,364 a month (based on the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator national average).
You can look at the calculator and see the current and future cost of care services where you live - including adult day care, assisted living, and nursing homes. You will discover these costs can be financially challenging, even if you have substantial savings.
The problem of long-term health care and aging is more than just about money. The consequences on your family are emotionally and physically demanding. Family caregivers are also untrained and unprepared for the role.
Think about it. You want to protect your assets and access quality care options. Few people don't. You want to reduce the stress and anxiety that is placed on those you love. Few people don't. However, there is more.
Needs and Desires as We Get Older
Social interaction is a basic human right that shouldn't be overlooked just because you are older. You will want to feel safe and secure. Technology can help, but this basic need increases as we age.
If you suffer from memory problems, you will want support to promote your safety.
You may need assistance with routine living activities, so you don't go without or risk falling or hurting yourself in the process.
You want choice. The choice to live in your home and receive quality care from professionally trained caregivers is a common desire. If you need a facility, you will want one close to friends and family that will meet your needs and in an environment that makes living desirable. Many assisted living facilities are now available that can meet your requirements.
Have the Money?
All this costs money. All of this needs to be managed. Advance planning can make getting older easier on your family and finances. For many families, Long-Term Care Insurance can play an important role. A policy will provide guaranteed tax-free benefits that give you access to quality care options and control. Many policies offer case management to help your family during the process of developing a plan of care and finding quality care providers.
Some people think Long-Term Care Insurance is expensive. If you have good health and obtain coverage before you retire, you will be very surprised at how affordable a policy can be.
See for yourself - How Much Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cost?
Understanding the realities of aging once you get past age 50 will make the process of getting older easier for everyone. For older family members who need help now, be sure they get the proper care and support they desire. For you ... maybe start investigating options and get a plan in place to avoid the chaos decades from now.
About the Author
Donna Erickson is a retired public educator. She created Fit Memory with a few friends as a way to promote wellness among senior citizens with the hopes it will help inspire others to make the most of their golden years.
Contributor since December 8th, 2021
Most of us need a better understanding of the course and implications of aging. There are real consequences that are placed on our families and our finances.
In our gut, we understand that adult children cannot become caregivers. Even if they are young and strong enough to be caregivers when we need long-term care, the stress and burden placed on them is hard to describe. They have to find a way to juggle their personal responsibilities and the demands of being a caregiver.
We might think we have enough money, but do we really want to risk those savings? Someone, probably one of your kids, will have to manage the care and decide how to liquidate your assets to pay for care. Plus, there can be tax consequences in addition to increasing your Medicare costs based partly on income.
The best time to obtain coverage is in your 50s; however, the LTC Tax is coming to several states, so getting coverage earlier may be wise.
Find Professional Help When Shopping for LTC Coverage
Long-Term Care Insurance comes in various types and options. In accordance with Section 7702(b) of U.S. Code, tax-qualified Long-Term Care Insurance policies include significant consumer protections, regulated benefit triggers, and tax incentives. However, many general insurance agents and financial advisors lack proper training on these products, underwriting, and policy design.
In addition, residents of certain states who don't own a qualified LTC Insurance policy are subject to a tax. To navigate the numerous options, you need the assistance of a knowledgeable Long-Term Care Insurance specialist. Additionally, a specialist can assist you in discovering the most cost-effective option based on your age, health, and family history.
Locate a specialist you can rely on who has dealt with all the top companies and understands underwriting, policy design, and claims - Work With a Specialist.
Resources and Tools Available on LTC NEWS
There is much inaccurate or incomplete information about long-term care planning on the internet. Not every financial advisor or insurance agent has the knowledge required to help you with long-term care planning. LTC NEWS can help.
If you have questions about long-term health care planning, LTC NEWS answers the most often asked questions - Frequently Asked Questions.
You can find all the resources available on LTC NEWS right here - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning.
The cost of long-term health care services is rising sharply nationwide. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator shows you the current and future cost of care services where you live - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State.
How About Elderly Parents?
If your older parents or family members are declining and need help now, what can you do to help? You can get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether or not they have an LTC policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News.
If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea.
Is a Reverse Mortgage Helpful?
Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource. You can fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance.
You might be eligible at younger ages as well.
Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, and even help with cash flow during your retirement.
Learn more by asking questions to an expert. Mike Banner, LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew," will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages.
- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.
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