You know that bumper sticker that reads, “Be nice to your kids – they’ll choose your nursing home”? Well, if seeing it makes you uncomfortable, join the club. First, consider the folks, like me, who have no children. Who will help us when we need care in our elder years? Then, consider the vast majority of Boomers who have little or no money saved for health care costs in their “golden years”.
In the last few weeks, we’ve seen three families in the office who are in the midst of dealing with a crisis surrounding the care of their aging parents. All of the family situations are different, but they have a few commonalities. They all waited until the last possible moment to tackle this difficult issue, and none of them have sufficient money to ensure that their parents will be taken care of until they die.
The truth is, aside from the people in Donald Trump’s tax bracket, hardly anyone can afford to pay indefinitely (and by indefinitely I mean until death – none of us know when that is going to happen) for long term care. And, according to multiple studies, the vast majority of people of all ages find it extremely challenging to talk about plans for their care if and when they become unable to live alone. It’s just too hard and complicated.
So maybe I can help you begin to think about this emotionally-charged issue by painting you a picture. Actually, the picture comes to you compliments of the U.S. government, specifically from the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging (AoA). Take a look here: The Cost of Care and spend just a few minutes to thinking about how the facts presented fit into your situation, now and in the future.
I hope that AoA’s excellent info-graphic finds its way into homes and families throughout the country. It could be used as a launching pad for Boomers, both married and single, with and without children, to begin talking about the cost of caring.