With the advances made recently in extending life expectancy, Americans are facing a difficult reality: great costs come with the care of aging parents. According to a Met Life and Fidelity Investments report, 25 percent of baby boomers will need to provide care for an aging parent, incurring an average of $350, 000 in lost wages and Social Security benefits. (FIDELITY VIEWPOINTS – 09/27/2017)
Providing care from home – Despite the huge losses in wages and social security benefits, often a more cost-effective (and more personal) level of care can be established within your home or your parent’s home. Of course, you’ll still need to provide for adequate levels of medical and daily needs. And don’t forget to care for yourself in this situation as well.
Looking for a facility – Although usually the costlier option, nursing homes provide the most protection and the most comprehensive care for our aging population. Visiting different facilities, chatting with residents, and even having a meal there are helpful steps to decide on the right residence. Of course, you’ll also want to ensure that the facility as well as the residents are clean and well-kept.
Develop a disaster plan while still healthy – Regardless which option you explore with aging parents or other loved ones, a stroke, heart attack, or other sudden event can catch the whole family off guard. Keep medical and emergency numbers close at hand. A most important step is to ensure estate planning documents – including Powers of Attorney –are in place.
Watch for signs of cognitive decline – Pay attention to changes in behavior. Are your loved ones becoming increasingly forgetful or losing focus? If steps are taken before these issues become too severe, they needn’t turn into calamities.
Don’t dance around the issue – The sooner you talk to your parents about their wishes, the better it will be for all involved. Although it can involve very emotional and difficult decisions, the time to address concerns is before they become emergency situations.
With so many considerations involved surrounding care for aging parents, discussing them with family, with health care providers, and with your trusted advisors will go a long way to putting everyone’s mind at ease. Contact Ambassador Advisors to help assess your options and to develop a sound financial strategy.
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