Failing to Plan for Long-term Care Creates Stress For Seniors in West Seattle

Posted by Jim Fuller on Oct 21, 2015 11:30:00 AM

Being a caregiver for an aging parent makes said caregiver more likely to plan for his or her own long-term care.

That’s great news for the bottom slice of the so-called “sandwich” generation—children who are watching their Baby Boomer parents struggle to provide care to their aging grandparents--because other than that, the news about planning for long-term care is pretty dismal.

According to a 2014 survey by Northwestern Mutual, 75 percent of Americans agree that as people live longer, the need for long-term care planning becomes more and more important. Unfortunately, planning for long-term care still seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

The survey by Northwestern Mutual queried more than 2,000 Americans ages 18 or older to better understand how, or whether, Americans are planning for the possibility that they may need assistance in their later years.  As part of the survey, researchers also wanted to determine if people were aware of the growing need for long-term care.

Findings from the study include:

One in three respondents said they had been a caregiver in the past or expected they would be in the future.

More than half of those who anticipate providing care expected that decision would affect their own personal finances or retirement plans.

About two in five respondents said they had not taken any steps to plan.

Only 37 percent know family members’ preferences for long-term care.

Although women are more likely than men to believe they will need long-term care, they are less likely to plan for it.

About one in three respondents are saving for his or her own long-term care needs

About one in four respondents said they do not understand available options for long-term care.

Here is a great website from Family Caregivers Alliance to learn more about long-term care demographics—who uses, when and for how long.

At Daystar Retirement Village we understand that planning for long-term care can be difficult, but we think the hardest part is just getting started. The first step really is to figure out what your options are.

Understanding that most of us prefer to be independent until the very end and then pass in our sleep, we still need to make a plan for “what if.” What if we reach a point where we need help? Obviously, finances will be a factor, but if you identify what your preference is—and why—you’ll stand a much better chance of creating a plan that achieves the result you are looking for.

In broad terms, if someone needs assistance with activities of daily living, the choices are a family caregiver, services provided by a home health agency, an assisted living facility or a nursing home. Each of those choices has advantages and disadvantages and there are many factors to consider. We’ve posted other blogs about things to consider here and here.

Once you know your options and your preference, the next step is telling your loved ones—your spouse, your children, other relatives or important people in your life.

Daystar Retirement Village is just one option, but we believe it is an exceptional one. If you are looking at options, we hope you’ll come by for a tour and see what we have to offer.

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Tags: Assisted Living in West Seattle, Independent Living Choices, Healthy Seniors in West Seattle Living, West Seattle Senior Living

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