Protecting your Children from the Long Term Care Burden

From the moment they are born, parents begin to protect and care for their children.  They want their lives to be safe and secure as the child ages into adulthood.  Even in adulthood the parents look after their kids, giving a helping hand whenever they can.  However, the situation slowly reverses as the parents age too, to the point that they begin to need help from their kids because they need long term care services like help bathing.  The one thing a parent can do to protect their kids financially and emotionally through out adulthood is to buy Long Term Care Insurance.

Everyone gets old. Many of us will get sick. A significant proportion of us (more than 2/3 over the age of 65) will require some form of long term care such as nursing home, assisted-living facility or in-home assistance. Long Term Care Insurance coverage can mean the difference between watching an elderly relative’s hard-earned nest egg vanish due to the high cost of these services or, equally if not more painful, their children or other relative needing to care for them, resulting in time off from work, loss wages and emotional hardship. But, while we all get old and many of us will need such care, Long Term Care Insurance coverage can help to insure that older relatives can live out their life in dignity, security, both economic and physical, and without being a burden on their children or family.

For Don, like many other Americans, it has become an all-too common experience. There you are in the prime of your personal and professional life, and your mother or father become ill and are in need of long-term care. Don, an advertising executive at the height of his busy career with a wife and 3 children and a very busy home and work life, found out his mother had Alzheimer’s. His father had already passed away, leaving his mother enough money to comfortably live out her days. However, she had not prepared for her long-term care needs by purchasing a Long Term Care Insurance plan. Now, Don was faced with having to put her in a nursing home or to hire an in-home health aid, both of which were too expensive for even his mother’s fairly significant retirement nest egg. So, Don and his wife decided to take on caring for his mother in their home, which proved to be a very disrupting and emotional situation.

Don’s situation is by no means rare. Most people, according to recent research, are not aware of Long Term Care Insurance and what it covers. They falsely assume that their traditional insurance plans or Medicaid will cover these costs in retirement. This is incorrect and potentially a dangerous state of ignorance for millions of Americans to be in. Long-term care can be very costly. Nursing homes, in-home care and advances in technology are making health care costs rise each year. Most people are not prepared to pay the out-of pocket costs associated with long term care and thus risk losing their savings and assets or, as in Don’s case above, risk burdening their children or other family members. This recent case in Chicago very graphically reveals what lacking Long Term Care Insurance can mean for you or your loved ones. This case, like Don’s, underscores the urgency of preparing for retirement and your future long term care needs now.

 

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