By Ruben Perez
“I will never need long-term care!”
Rarely true. Only three out of ten Americans over 65 can make this statement. The rest of us (a little over 70%) will need some sort of extended care in our sunset years , either in the comfort and familiarity of our own homes or in a paid facility. For those of us in the 70%, there are four options for getting the care we will need:
- Asking Family for Help
- Relying on the Government
- Using Up Our Own Assets
- Buying Insurance
November was long term care insurance awareness month. Over the next few months, I will briefly explore the practical implications of the various options for funding our long term care needs. The present article will address the option of asking family for help.
Long-term care, or extended care, is assistance needed
due to the mental or physical decline associated with aging,
a lengthy illness and/or recovery period, or a severe cognitive
disorder, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. These conditions
can leave us unable to perform certain of the six activities
of daily living (ADLs.) ADLs include the inability to perform
any of the following functions without assistance: walking,
eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, or transferring.
“My family will take care of me.”
Many people plan on asking a family member or close friend to provide aid to them in their older age. As we get older, our bodies and minds slowly deteriorate. That is a hard fact for most of us to swallow, but it is true. Things we used to be able to do when we were younger are not so easy to do anymore, and for some of us, they can become completely impossible. Decision-making gets more stressful, and confusion and uncertainty set in. At some point, most of us will need assistance doing everyday chores, and even caring for our own personal hygiene (showering, grooming, toileting and the like).
Loved ones who become caregivers end up putting their careers, families, and lives “on hold” to provide for our care. They take off more often from work to care for us; they give up time they could and should be spending with their own families to care for us; and, they devote their “free time” to caring for us. Do you want to put this burden on your spouse, son, daughter, relative, or friend? Why not put a plan in place to maintain your independence and ensure that the people you care about most do not become burdened with your care?