Articles: Addressing Long-term Family Needs
Currently, the average life expectancy in the United States is 77.8 years. Of course, that’s good news. However, an elderly relative who needs expensive long-term care could cause financial and emotional problems for the rest of the family.
Because the risk of needing long-term care increases with age, it is important to plan ahead, both for yourself and other family members. The optimal time to take steps is when you are relatively young and in good health.
Background: Long-term care is the type of help people need when they are unable to perform activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing, and dressing. Typically, it is not provided by doctors or by skilled nursing professionals.
Frequently, it is assumed that long-term care means care in a nursing home. While some people do require such specialized care, long-term care may vary. Family members, adult day care centers and assisted-living facilities areamong the most common care providers. Long-term care is not defined by the setting in which it takes place, but by the type of care needed.
The family dynamic today little resembles that of even a generaion ago. Children live half a world away, single-parent homes are more common and more women are finding success in their careers. The safety nets that many relied upon in the past - such as family caregivers - may no longer be available to those requiring care.
Long-term care has an impact on the entire family, not just the person who needs care. A family member - usually a middle-aged adult with children of his or her own - often assumes the role of unpaid caregiver for an aging parent or spouse. These caregivers typically must make adjustments at work and in their careers, such as taking leaves of absence or turning down promotions, to provide the needed care for an ailing relative. Being a caregiver may also have an impact on his or her own family life and overall personal health.
In summary: With advance planning, you can help protect the family’s assets and lifestyle. Address the risks before it’s too late.
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