Planning for your Elder Years
July 25, 2011 § Leave a comment
If we were to ask an older person what his or her most important concerns for aging are, we would probably get a variety of different answers. According to surveys frequently conducted among the elderly, the most likely answers we would receive would include the following three principal concerns or life wishes:
1. Remaining independent in the home without intervention from others;
2. Maintaining good health and receiving adequate health care;
3. Having enough money for everyday needs and not outliving assets and income.
To address these concerns or wishes and maintain the quality of life wanted in the elder years, it simply takes a little preplanning. Few people do this preplanning.
It is human nature not to worry about an event until it happens. We may prepare financially for unexpected financial disasters by covering our homes, automobiles, and health with insurance policies. However, no other life event can be as devastating to an elderly person’s lifestyle, finances and security as needing long term care. It drastically alters or completely eliminates the three principal lifestyle wishes listed above. The majority of the American public does not plan for this crisis of needing eldercare. The lack of planning also has an adverse effect on the older person’s family, with sacrifices made in time, money, and family lifestyles.
Because of changing demographics and potential changes in government funding, the current generation needs to plan for long term care before the elder years are upon them. Let’s look at some facts:
*the population of the “very old,” — older than age 85 — is the fastest growing group in America. This population is at highest risk for needing care.
*Medical science is preventing early sudden deaths, which means living longer with impaired health and greater risk of needing long term care.
*The Alzheimer’s Association estimates the risk of Alzheimer’s or dementia beyond age 85 to be about 46% of that population.
*It is estimated that 6 out of 10 people will need long term care some time during their lifetime.
*Children are moving far away from parents or parents move away during retirement making long distance care-giving difficult or impossible.
*Government programs — already stretched thin for long term care services — will experience even greater stress on available funds in the future.
One of the important things for planning is how to maintain your lifestyle as you age. You may be healthy enough to stay in your own home with help provided for the following activities of daily living:
- maintaining a home
- providing meals
- shopping services
- Knowledge and preparation are the keys to success;
- Having funds to pay for care expands the choices for care settings and providers;
- Using professional help relieves stress, reduces conflict, and saves time and money;
- Success is assured through a written plan accepted by all parties involved.