As the need for long term care grows across the nation, so too does the need for caregivers.
When you need care for an extended period of time, you may be faced with a decision of where to receive care and how to pay for it. If you have long term care insurance, your policy will help you cover the cost of care and even help you choose a facility or licensed caregiver in your area. If you don’t have insurance, though, you may need to consider other options.
Unfortunately, because so few Americans are prepared for the extensive and expensive health care bills that arise during retirement, many end up turning to family caregivers in their time of need. Rather than pay the full out of pocket cost for a facility, a family caregiver is free, lessening the financial burden on what otherwise might wipe out your retirement savings.
Family caregiving has become the norm, and though it may be affordable, it places an extreme burden on the families, caregivers, and patients alike. Emotional stress can cause tension between family members who are trying to decide the best way to provide care. Families often disagree on the method of providing care and without a neutral voice there to help guide the situation, it can cause rifts within a family.
A recent PBS article revealed that 9 in 10 Americans receiving some form of long term care receive that care from a family member or other loved one. Nearly three quarters of those caregivers provide care for their elderly parents.
The Congressional Budget Office places the value of this unpaid care at more than $234 billion in 2012. Another similar statistic placed the value of care in 2008 at an even higher cost of $450 billion. This massive gap in the ability to fund care indicates a major lack of planning on the part of most Americans.
The assumption that Medicare will pay for long term care is one of the issues contributing to this epidemic of unpaid caregivers, because many are caught off guard when they are told Medicare does not, in fact, pay for long term care.
Part of your retirement plan should include an allocation for long term care or a long term care insurance policy to help you cover the cost down the road. Sales of long term care insurance seem to be on the decline, even though the number of people who need long term care is expected to triple in the next few decades.
Planning for this type of extended care will help ensure you do not have to burden family members and you will receive top quality care from a licensed caregiver with experience. Read more about long term care planning or request more information about long term care insurance now.