76.4 million—this is the total number of baby boomers in the United States. While many might simply look at the number and carry on doing other things, this number is quite substantial to those in the long term care industry. Baby boomers are now shifting to retirement. Many are leaving the workforce, and even more are turning to long term care for their needs. They are the current and incoming seniors. And along with their numbers, they bring in a tidal wave of long term care needs that ought to be addressed. However, what makes matters alarming is the difficulty in which they need to go through to get a comprehensive long term care plan.
Retirement planning is a staple in every person’s life. For many individuals, they work all their lives to build a solid retirement for themselves and their spouses. With that said, retirement and long term care planning have always been intended to go hand-in-hand. You can even say that a retirement plan is incomplete without it. However, because of various factors and concerns, many individuals opt not to include long term care in their plans.
Cost of Care in America
One of the main reasons why individuals shy away from long term care planning is its price tag. According to Genworth’s 2016 Cost of Care Survey, the average annual cost of a private room in a nursing home is $43,539 while a semi-private room is at $82,125. For individuals living in Alaska, the annual cost of a semi-private room is tagged at $292,000.
Other long term care services are at a hefty price all over the country. Average annual cost of assisted living facilities and adult day health care are at $43,539 and $17,680 respectively. Moreover, homemaker services and homemaker health aide could cost an annual sum of $45,760 and $46,332.
These costs are indeed high, and for many, they are inevitable. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, 70% of individuals turning 65 can expect to require long term care services in the next few years. As much as many try to avoid it through healthy diets and exercise, there is still a high chance of requiring long term care. So those steep prices can be anyone’s reality soon.
Will I Really Need Long Term Care?
Though it is a concern for many, there is no direct answer to this. It is up to the person to determine whether or not they will need it. And even then, individuals can only make assumptions.
One way of making an informed guess is to look at the family tree. Research common diseases that run in the family line, and take it from there. If there are tests to determine if he or she is a candidate, then consider having those done as early as possible. It is not always a sure way, but at least each person is able to get a good picture of what he or she should prepare for.
Another factor to consider is that people are living longer. Compared to a few decades ago, the average life span of a person is much longer. For many, this could translate to longer sick years.
Additionally, women often outlive their husbands, so they end up finding care without the help of a spouse. They also end up with fewer resources, having spent most of their savings on the care expenses of their partners.
What Happens When I Do Not Plan For It?
Often, it is the family that suffers. Of course, the individual primarily faces the consequences. However, lack of planning takes a severe toll on the family, as well. When an older relative falls ill, relatives and family members usually flock to provide the care he or she needs. As admirable as this is, the situation can have long term effects on the individuals.
Family caregivers assist their loved ones in accomplishing the Activities of Daily Living. These include the six basic tasks such as bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, toileting, and moving. Either through a condition or an accident, individuals need long term care when two of these become difficult to perform.
When family members are assigned to help their relatives, one way or another, their lives will change. A study discovered that one in five caregivers experiences high levels of physical strain and financial problems. Two in five experience emotional stress, and three in five experience at least one impact in their employment situation.
How Do I Create A Good Long Term Care Plan?
There is no guidebook on creating the best long term care plan because different people require different care services. This is why people are often advised to seek help from the professionals.
Understandably, so many are wary of doing this. Plenty of individuals have this notion that industry professionals have one goal in mind: to sell their product. However, selling does not overtake the goal to provide assistance. The core of the industry is to provide care to those in need, and that remains true for many of its professionals.