Adults who become their parents’ primary caregivers often take on considerable physical, emotional and financial stress. When commitments become overwhelming, caregivers have a variety of available community services to consider:
- Home care aides can help seniors with household chores, such as cleaning and grocery shopping. They may also help with dressing, bathing and toileting.
- Senior centers provide opportunities for elders to socialize and receive nutritious meals. Similarly, meal services can ensure that seniors receive nutritious meals at home.
- Transportation services can help a senior get to medical appointments or shopping centers, as needed.
- A personal emergency response system (PERS) can contact the hospital or police station if the senior activates it in an emergency situation.
- A home health care professional can offer medical care and therapy in the home.
As physical needs increase, finances often play a significant role in the care of an aging parent. Long term care insurance, which can help cover the cost of long term care needs, may provide options for varying levels of care—in-home care, an assisted living/residential care facility or a nursing home.
"As physical needs increase, finances often play a significant role in the care of an aging parent".
In addition to providing choice and promoting dignity, long term care insurance can help protect savings and other assets from being depleted to pay for future long term care needs. When planning for your own future, consider these possibilities:
Suppose your spouse or partner needs long term care. Would you be able to provide it to him or her? Before you answer, consider the responsibilities of a caregiver. You may have to give up work either temporarily or permanently—would this put a financial burden on your household? As a caregiver, would you be able to handle the emotional and physical stress of dealing with situations you have not been trained or prepared for? If you were to die before your spouse or partner who depends on you for care, who would be able to step in and would there be enough money to pay for that care? These are important questions to consider.
Suppose you needed care. Have you determined whether your spouse or partner or another family member would be able to provide for you? Have you talked about this responsibility with them? Would they be able to give up their job to help you if need be? Would it cause a financial burden for them to take care of you? These are the types of situations you should consider.