According to the US Government Administration on Aging, “70% of the people who turn 65 can expect to use some form of long-term care during their lifetimes.” Also, according to the Administration on Aging, “one-third of today’s 65 year-olds may never need support, but 20 percent will need it for longer than 5 years.”
So, based upon the skyrocketing costs of long-term care, and the odds that two-thirds of us may someday need long- term care, should we plan ahead? The answer is YES.
It can be difficult caring for elderly parents, especially if your parents are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Caring for elderly parents is a situation that more and more children are facing as the average age of senior Americans continues to increase due to the availability of better healthcare and improvements in lifestyle choices. Americans are living longer than ever before; therefore, it is important to discuss issues related to caring for elderly parents in addition to making end-of-life decisions.
While some senior citizens may have completed the estate planning process, your elderly parents may or may not have taken those steps. Furthermore, many senior citizens have a will or other estate planning documents that relate to probating their estate but they have failed to plan for incapacity prior to their death.
Matters You Need to Discuss in Anticipation for Caring for Elderly Parents
Health care has been the topic of discussion lately, but the greatest threat to your financial health is long-term care. This is the kind of care you need if you are not able to perform normal daily activities (such as eating, dressing, bathing and toileting) without help, and it is expected that you will need this help for an extended period of time, often for the rest of your life.
Long-term care is often needed due to aging, chronic illness or injury, and with people living longer, most of us will need it for at least some time before we die. But it is not just for the elderly—a good number of younger, working-age adults are currently receiving long-term care due to accident, illness or injury.
The Key Takeaways
- The cost of long-term care is the greatest threat to your financial health.
- Most of us will need long-term care for at least some time before we die.
- It is better to assume you will need long-term care and plan for it than to just hope it doesn’t happen to you or a family member.
When a wartime veteran or a surviving spouse needs long-term care, VA benefits will help pay for this long-term care. Many families are not aware they may be entitled to receive these long-term care benefits from the Veterans Administration. Below are some examples of VA benefits that you may be entitled to receive as a wartime veteran or a surviving spouse that can help you pay for much needed long-term medical and personal care.
Pension with Aid and Attendance is intended to help pay for medical and personal care for veterans and surviving spouses who need assistance with daily activities such as dressing, eating and bathing. It is also intended for veterans and surviving spouses who are in a nursing home or who are blind. Those living in an assisted care facility who need help with their day-to-day activities also qualify for this type of VA benefit.
Pension with Housebound Allowance benefits veterans and surviving spouses who need regular assistance but do not meet the requirements for the Aid and Attendance benefits. This benefit also applies to those who want to move in with a family member or stay in their own home. Assistance and care may be provided to the claimant by an agency or a family member.