The Real Cost of Caregiving in the U.S.
Today, people are living longer than ever before in the United States. In fact, it’s been said that the first person to live to age 150 has already been born.
Yet, while it’s nice to know that more of us are living to a ripe old age, living longer can also be expensive – not only for the individual, but also for those who are helping to care for him or her. And, these “costs” can come in the form of financial, emotional, and physical expense to the provider.
The “Costs” of Offering Care
Typically, when the need for care arises, it is family members and other loved ones who will provide what is referred to as “informal care” for the individual. Often, care needs will start out with just “helping out around the house” or taking a loved one shopping – but it can soon escalate over time, depending on the person’s needs.
In fact, as care needs tend to increase, so can stress and financial turmoil. According to AARP, 75% of informal caregivers are also employed – and must therefore make accommodations in their work schedules in order to also fulfill their care- providing roles. This can be especially difficult if these individuals are also still raising children.
AARP estimates that roughly 1 in 5 will eventually be forced to take a leave of absence – and some even have to quit their jobs entirely in order to provide care to their loved one. This alone can lead to financial difficulty for the caregiver, as well as additional related stress.
In conjunction with this lost income is also fewer dollars going into retirement savings – as well as less going towards the care provider’s own calculations for his or her future Social Security retirement income.
In some cases, the caregiver may even have to make withdrawals from their own savings account or retirement plan in order to pay their living expenses and / or to pay for additional care giving costs.
Those who provide care are also more apt to suffer various health and other physical issues due to the physical lifting and other caregiving requirements that they are tending to. They are also more likely to suffer from social isolation, as well as conflicting demands between care giving duties and their own home life.
How to Best Provide Care for a Loved One
While most people would certainly want to provide the best care possible for an ailing loved one, it is often best to transfer the responsibility of that care to a professional care provider – and one of the best ways of paying for that type of care is through long term care insurance.
This type of insurance can offer coverage for care in a nursing home or an assisted living facility, as well as for care at the recipient’s home. Plans can also typically be customized by adding additional benefits such as benefit increases to help keep up with future inflation.
In putting together a long-term care insurance plan that best meets your and your loved ones’ future needs, an independent insurance agent can help you determine which benefits, and which insurance carrier, may be best for you. Independent agents can also help you in finding the best plan for your budget.
To keep your retirement savings in place and transfer the cost of a loved one’s future long-term care need, talk to us.