Are You Ready to Support Your Aging Parents?
Our nation’s senior population is expected to double from 2012 to 2050. While some general health care costs will be covered by government programs, independent and assisted living costs may fall largely on families. Yet, statistics show that nearly half of our population concerned about this need, are actually doing something about it.
What 42% of Americans Worry About, But Don’t Discuss
A survey revealed that 42% of Americans with living parents have not discussed anything at all with their parents about their potential need for senior care.
Ed Nevraumont, CMO of A Place for Mom states:
“Through our work with families, we find that it’s quite common for adult children to provide financially for their aging parents, but it’s not often clear if families had expected or planned to do so…”
The survey showed that just over one quarter (28%) of Americans with living parents either currently support, or feel they will need to support their parents financially in their senior years. As much as 86% of those people expressed concerns about their ability to do so according to a recent survey.
In an effort to quantify the readiness of families to provide care for their senior loved ones, A Place for Mom and The Mutual Fund Store co-commissioned an online survey with Harris Poll of over 2,000 adults about their understanding and readiness to care for their aging parents.
Steps to Ease the Transition
Don’t be a part of the 42% of Americans who may be waiting until a life-changing, emotionally charged event before having to quickly learn about costs and care options for your parents.
1. Discuss With Family. The first step in planning for your long-term care is an open and frank discussion with family about where they can find your parents’ financial assets. Putting one’s affairs in order is as simple as sharing information about legal documents, bank accounts, savings and investment and professional contacts who can help the family gain access to your parents’ financial legacy.
2. Speak to a Senior Living Advisor. Whether you are seeking long-term care or not, speaking to a Senior Living Advisor now will help you understand the type of living situation that you want to pursue when your loved one is ready. A proactive measure here can save a lot of time and energy that you’ll need at a more critical period of decision making.
3. Talk to Your Financial Advisor. Most investment strategies will change after retirement, as well as when moving oneself or a parent into senior living. A financial advisor is a key professional who will help you understand the investment vehicles for generating retirement income, as well as those that will help pay for senior care. By having a healthy relationship with your financial advisor, you can avoid senior scams and feel confident that your financial priorities are being looked after.
4. Budget for Senior Care. Once you understand the type of living situation and care level you’re likely to require, you can set a budget and find sources of income to help pay for your needs. Investments and 401(k) money is one source, but be sure to consider all of the options available to you, including veterans benefits, long-term care insurance, and government assistance such as Medicare and Medicaid, if eligible.
The tough conversation does not have to be painful. By starting early, families can avoid planning mistakes and make knowledgeable decisions about senior living and long-term care when the time comes. Get your family talking and develop relationships with the professionals who can make this otherwise difficult life transition a confident and positive one.