There’s No Place Like Home

As American Baby Boomers age into retirement, more and more of the general retired population will start needing others to care for them.  Statistics currently show that 40+ percent of people who make it to age 65 will need some form of Long-Term Care.  That’s approximately 30 million Baby Boomers over the next 15-20 years.  If we reach the age of 75, our likelihood of needing care increases to 70% (in other words 10 years into retirement almost 55 million baby boomers will be receiving some form of Long-Term Care).  These numbers are staggering.

Now let’s look at the cost to cover all these needs.  Currently the average stay in a Nursing home for a Male is 2.5 years and for a Female is 3 years.  So, if the average cost of a year in a Nursing Home is $60,000, then 30 million baby boomers will be spending on average $1.8trillion per year over the next 10 years.  After 10 years the average per year spending could exceed $3trillion per year.  This assumes however, that all care is being given in a Nursing Home, which is not accurate at all.  Many people are able to stay in their home and be cared for in a much more comfortable setting.  In-fact, this form of care is the most popular because most people have a fear of living in a Nursing Home and most family members prefer to keep their loved ones home as long as they can assuming the care can be administered adequately there.

So, Home Health Care seems to be a growing industry, wouldn’t you agree?  Fact is, most Home Health Care is administered by family members, to the tune of 80% or more.  These services include such seemingly miniscule services as sitting by Mom or Dad’s bed to make sure they don’t fall out of bed while sleeping, helping them get in or out of the tub or shower, feeding them, dressing them, making sure they are comfortable while watching TV, making their favorite meal for lunch or dinner…the list goes on and on.  The point is, some things most people feel they shouldn’t have to pay someone to perform, it just has to be done.  That’s when family steps in and gets it done.  At Home!  That’s Home Health Care. 

As costs go, sometimes, Home Health Care as the primary method of care giving can be the most expensive.  If costs are measured financially, it could be an option that saves money, however the overall costs are measured more accurately by calculating the risk of deterioration of the health of the primary caregiver.  Usually, if the primary caregiver is a family member it is a wife, daughter, sister, etc.  These usually female primary caregivers’ lives are consequently affected adversely over the period of time that they perform the necessary care duties.  The costs associated with the deterioration of the caregiver’s health cannot be measured.  One would assume the costs far outweigh other forms of payment.

The reason I wrote this piece is to get you thinking about planning for “how to care for Mom and Dad” when and if they should ever need some form of Long-Term Care.  The baby boomers may not start needing the magnitude of care depicted in this article for another 10 years or so, but they are experiencing the reality of being responsible for caring for their parents and the decisions are immensely hard to make.  Most baby boomers are too hard-headed to think they need to “prepare” for a Long-Term Care need.  How do I know?  I am a baby boomer myself.  But that’s ok, they have smart kids.  Start planning now for your Mom and Dad.  Don’t be afraid to talk about it with them.  They (we) respect that our kids are forward thinkers and they will listen…the question is, will they do anything about it now, before it’s too late?

Thanks for reading!

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