If there’s a silver lining to the pandemic we’re all living through, it’s the spotlight on long term care. Families with loved ones in senior care homes, whether assisted living units, nursing homes, or other facilities, were confronted right from the start with difficulties previously not considered. From lockdowns impacting visits to infection control protocols, strong or weak, it’s safe to say a wide swath of the American public now has a new awareness of long term care that is provided within residential facilities.
Home care was also impacted by the pandemic. Who exactly was taking care of Mom or Dad, and what was the chance they would inadvertently bring the pandemic along on their next visit?
A recent opinion piece in the New York Times entitled “Getting Old Is a Crisis More and More Americans Can’t Afford” by Michelle Cottle (Aug. 8, 2021) was unwavering in its assessment, “Growing old is an increasingly expensive privilege often requiring supports and services that, whether provided at home or in a facility, can overwhelm all but the wealthiest seniors. With Americans living longer and aging baby boomers flooding the system, the financial strain is becoming unsustainable”.
The author lays the facts bare:
- In 2018, there were 52.4 million Americans age 65 or older and 6.5 million 85 or older. By 2040, those numbers will be 80.8 million and 14.4 million.
- Every day for the next 9 years, an average of 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65.
- Demand for care is outpacing supply. Waiting lists for home-based care paid by Medicaid have an average wait list that exceeds 3 years.
The median yearly cost of employing a home health aide on a full time basis is around $50,000; the median yearly cost of an assisted living facility is $52,000. Since almost half of households headed by someone age 55+ have no retirement savings, the cost of this care is clearly unaffordable for most. The result? Millions and millions of family members providing the needed care, often to the detriment of their own physical and emotional health, not to mention their own financial security.
Opinion columns can be interesting, for sure! But they may be either useful or not. When it comes to your own likely, eventual long term care needs, it makes sense to consider your reality. Are you in housing that supports aging in place? What caregivers are available? How long can you count on them?
There’s a saying: “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” Since long term care is a battle in so many ways, it makes sense to plan now so that you have at your disposal in the future the “army you will want.” That includes the ready ability to pay for care in the setting you desire, without disrupting the finances of the ones you love. The ability to easily pay top dollar for care may make a big difference as more people need care from a dwindling number of caregivers.
What’s the best way to ensure you get that future “army you want”? Get a long term care insurance policy on your side now.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to discuss any aspect of long term care planning or long term care insurance you might need more information about. Baygroup Insurance can be contacted at http://www.baygroupinsurance.com/forms/contact-us or call us at 410-557-7907 for more information.