According to new research from Genworth, one of the nation’s leading long-term care insurance companies, Americans are both entering caregiver roles and requiring care at younger ages. Among the study’s findings:
Nearly half of family caregivers now are men
The average age of a family caregiver is 47 (down from age 53 in 2010)
57% of family members who require care are 65 or older (down from 80% in 2010)
One in five long-term care recipients needs help as the result of an accident rather than illness (nearly twice the number from 2010)
U.S. caregivers provide an average of 21 hours of assistance a week for a duration of three years
It’s not clear why some of these statistics have changed so dramatically in eight years, but what is clear is that it’s prudent to develop a long-term care plan sooner rather than later. We may think that because people are living longer that they won’t need care assistance until their 80s and beyond, but the results of this recent survey tell a different story.
If you’re planning to live to a ripe old age, do yourself and your family and friends a huge favor: Find resources to help you remain independent as long as possible. There are a wide variety of options in all price ranges, and it’s never too early to consider a plan that’s right for your situation. If you would like help exploring these options, please give us a call.
Having resources lined up to help with daily challenges also means that when you do spend time with family, it’s quality time and not focused on household chores or other issues. This may mean having a reliable helper to turn to when your television goes on the fritz and you need someone (with technical knowledge and endless patience) to work with the company’s telephone support. It may mean changing light-bulbs in dark bathrooms or hauling trash cans to and from the curb. Household assistance can help with the day-to-day chores we may take for granted when younger and healthier. These types of assistance are commonly referred to as long-term services and supports (LTSS) and aren’t covered by Medicare. One report found that the average cost for those with high LTSS needs who are paying for services is about $10,000 a year.
Long-term care insurance can help with more personal assistance. This type of coverage kicks in for more serious impairments to help with things like bathing, dressing, eating, going to the bathroom and getting around from room to room.
For some, the first step to a caregiver plan is “right-sizing” to a family home that is easier and less expensive to maintain. Some may take the opportunity to move to a retirement community – to be surrounded by peers and services – or to choose a warmer client conducive to an active retirement lifestyle.
Another option to consider is a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), which provides a progression of care as residents age. These communities offer a range of amenities, including housekeeping and dining options, transportation, wellness and fitness programs, recreational and social outings, and activities.
As you plan for the future, don’t forget to enjoy today. Research has found that spending more time in nature has significant health benefits: 90 minutes a day outside in a wooded area can help reduce activity in the part of the brain linked to depression. Spending time in nature also has been attributed to lowering blood pressure; reducing anxiety, feelings of aggression and ADHD symptoms; increasing pain control; and boosting the immune system and feelings of happiness.
Raymond C. Lantz, Jr. is the president and founder of USA Wealth Group, Inc. Ray has many years of experience advising clients in retirement and sophisticated tax planning strategies, multi-family and commercial real estate projects, and legacy planning. Ray is a graduate of Clark University, holds a law degree from Boston College, and a master of laws in taxation from Boston University. You can hear him every Sunday on Money Wise with Ray Lantz on WBSM 1420AM or on the Radio Pup app.
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