While my days are primarily spent surrounded by little ones, my mom and my mother in law spend many of their days surrounded by the elderly. My 90-year-old grandmother and my husband’s 88-year-old grandmother both live locally and find themselves in need of constant care.
Both moms are saints when it comes to caring for the grands – saints I tell you. From the challenge of finding them suitable care to convincing them that they need help, the past couple of years have been an upheaval in all of their lives as they adjust to the positions of caregiver and care receiver.
Although discussed in jest about our need to one day take care of the moms when they find themselves in the position the grands are in now, someday it will be true. Sooner than we’d like, we will find ourselves taking care of our parents, the interesting circle of life.
One thing I know both moms have learned a lot about over the last couple of years is the cost of caregiving. Beyond the emotional toll taken, both grands have found themselves in need of every day assistance. While my husband’s grandmother is now in a full-time care facility, my grandmother has had the added challenge of being in and out of medical facilities due to illness. She now finds herself at home with in-home care. All of which is costly.
Sorry to burst your bubble if you still think medicare, medicaid and social security will be enough to fund your parent’s care (or your care for that matter). Not going to happen. While the moms are the ones who could probably write a novel about the need for long-term care insurance, I’ll keep it to a few brief (important) points:
- The Hard Cost – Clearly the most important reason to consider looking into long-term care options is the financial drain. According to this article I read about the cost of caregiving, daily rates in a nursing home are $250-$300 per day and the median annual cost of a private room in nursing facility is $81,000. Ouch!
- The Soft Costs – For those who plan to care for their elderly parent at home, don’t forget about the financial burden you will bear as well. Perhaps you will have to cut down on work hours, or give up working completely to care for your loved one 24/7. The real cost of lost wages hurts not only short term, but in the long term too with less savings contributed to your own retirement and social security.
- You Don’t Know Until You Know – According to statistics from a 2012 survey, of those who have not experienced the burden of caring for someone 64% do not have a plan for their own long-term care. Of those who have experienced what it is like to care for another, that number drops to just 45% who do not have a plan. Tells you something, doesn’t it.
I’m not yet well-versed in the language of long-term care. For now, my mother carries that burden. But I look to my parents as they go through this journey with my grandmother for advice as to how to help care for them later.
If you have not yet begun to think about long-term care for your parents, it is probably time.