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Caregiving: What’s Your Strategy?

There’s an adage often found on decorative signs and other accessories
that reads, “Be nice to your kids; they will choose your nursing home.”

The saying rather drives home the best and the worst aspects
about planning for old age. Many retirees will tell you that their most fervent
wish is to have a good relationship with family members, but that’s not always
easy to do. However, research shows that elders who are more socially involved
with family members are more likely to live longer and have a stronger immune
system, positive mental health and a higher level of cognitive function than
those who do not.1

It’s also worth noting that most people today would prefer
to “age in place” in their own homes. To do so, you may need either very
patient and attentive children or a sizable nest egg to pay professionals who
will take care of you as well as family (or better). We can’t do much about the
disposition of family members, but we can help you plan for the possibility of increased
health care expenses or the need for caregiving in retirement. Please give us a
call to schedule a meeting.

For those who live in three-bedroom houses, for example, and
want to age in place, there may be a couple of different ideas. The first is
that the home may be too large for an elderly person — particularly one who
needs daily assistance — to maintain in the long term. However, there is also room
for family, friends or even caregivers to live with you, allowing for the
constant care you need in your own home.

High net worth retirees may have ample financial resources
to pay for long-term care if needed, whereas low-asset retirees may be eligible
for Medicaid long-term services and supports or subsidized housing. It’s
middle-class retirees who are most likely to feel the pinch when it comes to
the expense of paying for in-home care. That’s no small demographic — in fewer
than 10 years, there will be more than 14 million middle-income seniors in the
U.S. Two-thirds of these will suffer from three or more chronic health
conditions, more than half will find it difficult to walk independently, and one
in five will require significant care for their most basic daily living needs.2

Many who land in the middle-income category may feel they
can rely on family members for their care. However, long-term caregiving takes
its toll. What might start out as a daughter dropping by regularly and taking her
mom to doctor’s appointments can soon morph into responding to daily needs,
dropping everything for minor emergencies and spending all of her free time
addressing parent needs instead of those of her own, her employer or even her
own family. If this responsibility is not shared among siblings, community
resources and hired help, the role of caregiver can take a mental and physical
toll and turn into resentment toward the elderly person as well as the
available people who do not assist.3

Knowing when to begin planning for long-term care is
important. It’s typically recommended to begin planning in your 50s and
communicate your wishes for long-term care with your family members.4

Even today’s young adults need to look ahead at their caregiving
options in old age. More people are choosing not to marry, and more than one in
four (28.4%) households today are composed of just one person — more than twice
the number (13.1%) in 1960.5

In other words, without a partner and/or children, a well-thought-out
caregiving strategy may be your best option to allow you to age in place.

Content prepared by Kara Stefan

1 Amada Senior Care. Jan. 22, 2020. “The Importance of
Family in a Senior’s Life.” Accessed Feb. 13, 2020.

2 Jillian West and Lisa Dubay. Urban Institute. May 16,
2019. “Middle-Income Seniors Face a Gap in Housing and Health Supports.” Accessed Feb. 13, 2020.

3 Carol Brady Bursack. AgingCare. 2018. “A Common
Caregiver Confession: ‘I Secretly Wish My Ill Loved One Would Die’.” Accessed Feb. 13, 2020.

4 Carmen Reinicke. CNBC. June 22, 2018. “If
you’re in your 50s, you need to plan for long-term care right now.” Accessed March 2, 2020.

5 Justin Fox. Bloomberg. Feb. 10, 2020. “U.S. Household
Size, at a Record Low, May Finally Be Bottoming Out.” Accessed Feb. 13, 2020.

We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement
strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and
objectives. This material is intended to provide general information to help
you understand basic retirement income strategies and should not be construed
as financial advice.

The information contained in this material is believed to be reliable,
but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be
used as the sole basis for financial decisions. If you are unable to access any
of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text,
please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.