Having a comprehensive long-term care plan is necessary for every baby boomer today. If you look at the costs of all the care services in the country, you will find that even the lowest rates in the most budget-friendly states are not, well, cheap. These can amount to hundreds and thousands of dollars that Americans just do not have lying around. Bear in mind that these care requirements could last years.
Many are looking for various methods to fund their future care. Some have decided that insurance policies are enough to give the coverage that they need. In fact, approximately 90% of the policyholders are satisfied with their coverage that they have purchased. Around 8 out of 10 of the survey respondents have shared that filing a claim was an easy experience. However, many are still hesitant to purchase any form of coverage today. Some still have one question in mind: is long-term care insurance worth it?
Fortunately for millions of baby boomers, their adult children willingly step up to their safety net strategy. Once they have run out of funds and other resources, they can always fall back on family for the support, care, and love that they need. However, a big portion of their generation cannot say the same. Millions of aging baby boomers are, in fact, childless. If you are one of these individuals, then you must realize the importance of having a good long-term care plan.
It is important to point out that choosing not to have children has its advantages and that it should never be viewed as some type sort of weakness. After all, no tuition fees and day-to-day expenses that come with keeping a child alive provide more wiggle room in your finances. However, it is also vital to acknowledge that long-term care plans work differently when you do not have as much back up as those with living children. Here is an in-depth discussion and a detailed guide on how you can navigate planning for your future care without children.
Childless and Aging
First, let us answer one question: who are the boomers aging solo?
The dream for many in this generation was to land a job, establish a career, buy a house and a car, get married, and then have children. However, 25 million Americans or one-third of the baby boom population are marching to the beat of their own drum. These are the ones who have gone through life without children. Bear in mind that this number does not include the baby boomer parents who lost a child or have one who is severely impaired.
Moreover, we also have to consider the individuals who may have had children but are not as capable as one would think when it comes to helping their aging loved ones. They may be plagued with addiction or diseases. Or they may simply do not get along or prefer their in-laws.
Thinking about age-related issues and challenges was never the strong suit of baby boomers. After all, no one wants to think of the time when you can no longer care for your own self. The perceived lack of independence is a daunting thought to entertain, and many would rather wait until the last minute to consider it. However, aging baby boomers without children must acknowledge that time is running out. You need to be more proactive about learning and planning for care.
Finding Support and Coverage
Deciding on the type of coverage is not as easy and simple as many often assume. This is why it is never a good move to wait until the last minute to secure coverage for long-term care. By delaying, you run the risk of higher premiums and disqualification from a policy because of health conditions.
It is important to note that single and childless women must be more assertive when it comes to finding coverage because they often face higher charges for care services and policies. The reason behind this is that women have longer lifespans, which means that they need care longer than men.
Remember that making an investment this big should not be done overnight. Finding the right long-term care policy can be achieved by research and consultation. You have to learn as much as you can about these plans, and you have to speak with the right insurance agent who will guide you through the process. This type of coverage works to ensure your independence and security, but you have to be smart in deciding what is included in your policy.
Proactive Steps You Can Take Today
Planning should be an ongoing process. Let’s take a look at some of the steps you can take now:
Calculate your actions.
You may not want to secure a policy if you do not know much about it yet. Remember that high health literacy is necessary for crafting a plan you might not even need for a few more decades.
Research the features and possible benefits you can include in your own policy. Identify the ones that work best for your situation and stick to those. Do not fall into the trap of overloaded policies regardless of how comprehensive it is. Remember that the more features you add to your policy, the more expensive it becomes. People often struggle to keep up with the costs later on in life.
You have to determine the right amount for your needs and keep in mind that basic policies are not that bad. Answer a few questions in our long-term care assessment tool, and see where and how you can start a plan now. This can help you get a more concrete idea of how you should begin planning for care.
Plan for active retirement AND old age.
Skirting around the issues that come with old age can only cause harm. You need to think about the reality of aging — getting sick, growing frail, and experiencing limitations — because care for these instances cost a great deal of money. You may be living a healthy lifestyle, but some instances, like accidents, slips, and even old age, are just unavoidable.
You need to be thorough when it comes to planning because you should not rely on your nieces or your nephews to provide the care that you need. After all, they are probably worrying about the care requirements of their own parents.
Plan with your friends. Share resources and opportunities.
Proximity to friends can be immensely beneficial for baby boomers growing older without children, so why not plan your long-term care with your friends of the same age? One good aspect of this is that you can trade ideas and resources with one other. It can help open new ideas you did not even think of. It can help you see all the other options you did not know exist.
Moreover, planning for old age with your circle of friends means that you get to build a community that knows exactly what you are struggling with. It helps bring a feeling of belongingness which is vital for people facing the challenges brought by aging.
Lastly, and perhaps one of the biggest benefits, you get to grow older with the people you have established long-lasting relationships with. As you can imagine, this opens up all sorts of possibilities and even fun during the twilight years.
Find the best location for aging solo.
Remember this: where you choose to grow older and who you choose to surround yourself with matters. In a few years, most of your peers with children may have to move closer to them to be with family. You do not want to be the only elderly person in a neighborhood full of young couples and their toddlers and teens.
You have to choose the place that works best for you. While senior centers and assisted living facilities may work for some older adults, others found themselves unable to grow in these venues.
Take great consideration of the available transportation. Moving around will not be as easy as it was before, and the things that never really mattered before—sidewalk heights and navigating stairs and ramps—will become the biggest obstacles. Be sure to find a location that is elderly-friendly.
Plan against elder abuse.
Not having a child to take over the decision-making could mean giving control to other people. This means that you will have to hand over your finances using a durable power of attorney. As you can imagine, this opens you to the terrifying aspect of growing older: abuse and extortion.
When planning for your future finances, you should not give full control of your money and assets to just one person. Choose at least three younger individuals to take care of your finances. Be sure to rely on the people you know to be trustworthy. Keep in mind that even family members can be unethical and abusive.
Get the paperwork done as soon as you can.
Everything needs to be in black and white when you are planning for care. Begin laying out all the legal papers if you have not done this yet. These include living wills, advance health care directives, and durable powers of attorney. Gather all the documents that you need and start asking for legal help in securing these necessities.