September 27, 2012
Contact: Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR
619.997.2495 or Email Gayle
Majority of Californians Unprepared to Deal Financially with Aging Issues
Results a wake-up call for families regarding the need to make plans now
(SAN DIEGO) – A newly released poll by The SCAN Foundation and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research shows a significant wave of demand for long-term care is about to hit California as the population over age 65 is expected to double in the next 20 years.
Half of Californians aged 40 and older say they will need long-term care for a close family member within the next five years. But the majority would struggle to afford it, with many unable to pay even a single month of long term care.
Long term care experts including Josh Allen, RN, C-AL, director of In-Touch-At-Home, a private duty home care agency based in San Diego, says these findings provide valuable insight to baby boomers who still have time to act upon them and be ready to live well into their older years, which could include making provisions for long-term care.
“Baby boomers have spent years planning their investments in their homes, their childrens’ education, their communities and causes, even their hobbies. It’s now time for the baby boomers to think about one more important investment in themselves: in their future long-term care needs, both emotionally and financially.”
Two-thirds of people over age 65 will need some kind of long-term care, but only 35 percent have actually considered the possibility. Many don’t realize that Medicare and/or traditional health insurance do not cover most long-term care needs.
“No one wants to think about getting older and losing their independence, especially not this active generation,” said Allen. “It’s precisely because Baby Boomers have rejected so many stereotypes about aging and remained so active that they may not realize many of them will need some sort of help eventually, and put off planning for it.”
“People want affordable options for care and to ensure that individuals can age in their homes with dignity and independence. These options exist, and they can be very cost-effective while also maintaining the ability for seniors to remain in their own homes,” said Allen. “But people don’t take time to learn about them until they are under pressure to make a decision.”
While individuals are concerned that extended care can impose financial pressures on family members and also interfere with their lifestyles, this is ironically what happens most often when people fail to plan thoughtfully for their own potential long-term care needs.
An estimated 66 million Americans serve as family caregivers, and 80 percent of all long-term care support is unpaid. Spouses, adult children, siblings and grandchildren provide it. Only 40 percent of caregivers anticipate that they will contribute financially to a family member's care, but the reality is that 83 percent do. These responsibilities caused nearly half of caregivers to miss work, change shifts or even miss career advancement opportunities.
Smaller families and increased mobility causing families to live apart from one another, plus the rise of more middle-aged women in the workforce are creating a shortage of family caregivers. “It is no longer an option. Every one of us needs to make a plan for how we'll handle potential long term care needs,” said Allen.
Allen says the best and most simple way to get started is to simply open a family conversation among all generations about long-term care. Among the issues you should discuss:
- What type of care do you personally prefer: moving to an assisted living facility, a nursing home, or in-home care options?
- What role if any do you expect other family members to play in your care? Conversely, what potential responsibility are you willing and able to take on? What can you afford in terms of time and budget?
- Would you consider getting help from a professional care coordinator or nurse with a specialty accreditation in Assisted Living, should it ever be necessary to manage care?
- How will your preferred type of care by paid for: Savings, loans or reverse mortgage, long-term care insurance, or Medicaid/Medicare?
“Baby Boomers are ‘take-charge’ kind of people, and if they knew how much easier their long-term care decisions would be if they approached them earlier in life, I’m sure they would be more proactive. Solid information such as the SCAN Foundation survey results can help Baby Boomers recognize that it’s far better to discuss these issues now, when there is no need to make a decision under time and financial pressure.”
“It’s smart to reach out to an expert on extended care to discuss the wide array of resources available to help you out when the time comes. Whatever approach ends up being best for you and your family, giving it serious thought now gives you many more choices later,” advised Allen.
About InTouch at Home
InTouch at Home is a Senior Resource Group, LLC (SRG) senior living company. Serving the needs of seniors and their families for more than 20 years, SRG delivers on the promise of exceptional service and quality care each and every day through its 18 communities including La Vida Real (Rancho San Diego) and La Vida Del Mar. Now through InTouch at Home, this same outstanding care and service is available to you in your home, wherever it may be. For more information, call 855-468-8900 or visit www.InTouch-at-Home.com.