David Lerner Associates: Parents' Long Term Care
October is Long Term Care Planning month. According to the Mayo Clinic website, long term care is described as home and community-based services for adults who need help taking care of themselves. This is something baby boomers should pay attention to – not only for themselves as they grow older, but also for their aging parents.
Many boomers are caught between their own financial needs for retirement, the current demands of their children, and their aging parents. Although rarely enforced, 28 states currently have laws making adult children financially responsible for their parents, if their parents can't afford to take care of themselves.
Compounding the problem, baby boomers often don’t have a clear picture of their parents’ true financial situation. Aging parents may be reluctant to discuss finances with their children. At the same time, busy boomers may be distracted by the financial demands of having their own children in college while also trying to save for their retirement.
The best defense against being caught off guard is early planning. Adult children can be at a disadvantage if they don’t have at least a snapshot of their parents’ health needs and financial situation. A good first step is to determine whether the parents already have long-term care insurance, and if so, what it covers. Consider having the policy reviewed by a qualified professional, such as a long-term care insurance specialist or elder care/estate planning attorney.
Look into the various types of long term care available in your community, assess your parents needs now and in the future, and plan accordingly.
- Home care. A home health aide can help with bathing, dressing and other personal needs at home, as well as doing light housekeeping duties, preparing meals and shopping.
- Day program. Most day care centers provide social activities, meals, and other programs like field trips or light exercise. A day care center is for adults who don't need 24/7 attention.
- Senior housing. Many communities offer rental apartments intended for older adults. Some senior housing facilities offer meals, transportation, housekeeping, and activities.
- Assisted living. These facilities are for people who need help with taking medication, bathing, and dressing. They also provide meals, transportation, housekeeping, and social activities.
- Continuing-care retirement community. These communities have several levels of care in one location:
- A senior housing section for those who are healthy.
- An assisted living section for those who need help with daily activities.
- A full-time care and nursing facility for those who are no longer independent.
- Nursing home. Nursing homes offer 24-hour nursing care for anyone who needs it. This could be someone recovering from an illness or surgery. It could also be a long-term residence for people who are unable to care for themselves.
If the parents don’t have long-term care insurance and can’t afford to purchase coverage, it might be better to help with this expense now, rather than be faced with a large bill for their care later on.
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Founded in 1976, David Lerner Associates is a privately-held broker/dealer with headquarters in Syosset, New York and branch offices in Westport, CT; Boca Raton, FL; Teaneck and Princeton, NJ; and White Plains, NY. For more information contact David Lerner Associates Call 516-921-4200 Visit our website: www.davidlerner.com