I’m in the process of writing six books. Yeah,… six. It is absolutely as nutty as it sounds. They will be launched nationwide through Barnes and Noble in January and I’m really excited about it. Although, honestly, I’m mostly excited because by then they will all be finished, but that’s not the point. The point is I’m writing a series of books for each decade of your life (20s, 30s, etc.) and it turns out the 50s and 60s books are the most interesting. These two decades are so crucial for the next 30-50 years that I find them fascinating to write about.
Your 50s and 60s often involve a big sigh of relief. If you have kids and they went to college you’ve likely sent them all off and hopefully paid off all their schooling. You are also in your prime earning years and can now begin to refocus on accumulating money for retirement. But there is a factor you can’t control, your parents’ health and financial preparedness. Adults are living longer and many retirement incomes can’t support the length of time lived or the cost of expensive long term care.
This week on The Pete the Planner Radio Show on 93 WIBC I spoke to Andy Cohen the CEO of Caring.com about this problem. A recent survey done by Caring.com shows that 50% of those who care for aging adults spend more than $5,000 a year on their care. The financial burden is just one part of it though. 33% of those who care for aging adults are spending over 30 hours a week doing so. It’s no surprise then that this group of caregivers is also more likely to be late to work, leave early, have to change their schedules, or miss work entirely.
The burden of caring for an aging adult very often falls on the shoulders of their children. Hopefully your parents purchased long term care insurance and hopefully their funds can cover any care they need for as long as they need it, but often this isn’t the case. If the care of a parent falls on your shoulders you have three options: 1) Put them up in a senior living community (assisted or independent living) – cost: $60,000 – $90,000 annually, 2) Hire in-home care – cost: $30,000 – $40,000 annually, or 3) Have your parents move in with you – cost for necessary home modifications and any supplemental care varies.
Hopefully you aren’t in this spot yet. Prevention is always easier, and there are plenty of ways to prevent being overwhelmed when/if the time comes to care for aging parents. First of all, you need to have an open and honest conversation with your parents. What have they prepared for? What is your role? Have they purchased long term care insurance? Do they have a will or living trust in place? Who has power of attorney for medical and financial decisions? The answers to these questions will determine what you can do now to prevent being overwhelmed with long term care costs in the future.
If you are already caring for an aging parent there is still hope. Caring.com is a great resource to lean on with any questions you have. For more tips and information listen to my interview with the CEO of Caring.com, Andy Cohen, below.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.