Baby boomers make up that plentiful population born between 1946-1964, who now are between 48 and 66-years-old, and approaching retirement age.
A total of 76 million people were born in that post-war period, says the Population Reference Bureau, which means soon there will be many people worrying about how they'll get by in their golden years.
Many children of baby boomers are worrying about whether Mom and Dad will need long-term care.
Waiting until their parents reach 70-years-old isn't the answer.
Things can go wrong quickly, and with the influx of an aging population needing extra care, space at nursing homes might not be readily available.
In-Home Care Services
Taking care of loved ones at home might be an option. This involves becoming familiar with medical supplies and how to use them. One place to get supplies is Mountainside Medical Supplies based in Marcy, N.Y. Here, the caregiver can get items ranging from non-slip slipper socks to a blood-pressure monitor.
However, sometimes obligations like work make it difficult for adults to take care of their parents, and a professional caregiver might be the answer. Many of the services required to support in-home care for the aging, aren't covered by Medicare or regular insurance companies.
Care provided by a licensed home care agency can cost $21 per hour for a home health aide, who can help with bathing and dressing, and $19 per hour for a homemaker/companion, who cleans the house and runs errands.
You can find help on your own, but keep in mind agency costs cover hiring (including background checks), training and supervision, managing the schedule, helping with backup care, handling payroll taxes, and taking care of liability insurance and worker's compensation.
According to eCarediary.com, most agencies will work with the family members to find a good match for their beloved ones. But, remember, the average in-home care spans 3.7 years, according to the eCarediary.
People with cognitive impairments, such as Alzheimer, require care for an average of 8.9 years. For standard care, the national cost of services right now is $79,000 annually, and can be much more in larger cities. These costs continue to rise dramatically because of inflation and demand.
Long-Term Care Insurance
A good option is buying a long-term care insurance policy. This type of insurance can alleviate financial burden by offering a vehicle for reimbursement in care costs. Premium payments are stretched out over a longer period, according to eCarediary, and distribution is tax free.
A story at the Huffingtonpost.com defines long-term care insurance as a policy that covers care generally not covered by health insurance— Medicare and Medicaid. Long-term insurance can be used to pay for help with the basic activities of everyday life, including bathing, dressing, using bathroom facilities, and eating.
Long-term care insurance will typically pay a large portion of nursing home expenses for a set benefit period of time, depending on the age and health conditions of the insured person.
Long-term care insurance can be complex— so make sure to invest time into your research. Buying it at a relatively young age, might seem like a cost-effective move. However, if the insurance isn't needed for 20 years, then it might make sense to invest the premiums instead. Read the fine print of long-term care policies to ensure premiums stay leveled, and there are no other hidden costs.
Not sure how much long term care insurance costs? Here's a previous post where I breakdown the costs of long-term care insurance.
According to the Sacramentobee.com, Facing old age alone, in a way, is a women's issue, as the article mentioned U.S. census figures showing that almost 11 million Americans have already lost their spouses, and two-thirds of them are women who outlived their husbands.
Feinberg mentioned a scenario not unlike “The Golden Girls” in which two or three older adults live together to share expenses and take care of each other.
Fun in the Sun | Stay Proactive
Being proactive is another option for adults concerned about their aging baby boomer parents. One way to help aging parents is to urge them to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
Mountainside Medical Equipment offers supplies such as exercise mats, a heart rate monitor, and sport tape. Mini stepper and bike exercisers, aqua weights and other devices make it easier for adults to keep fit in the comfort of their homes.
There are intangible ways children can help their elderly parents. Home Care Partners suggests becoming familiar with the medications they take and making multiple telephone calls just to check-in every week— if distance prevents them from making physical visits.
Society taking care of the aging baby boomer population isn't a problem that's going to go away anytime soon; but their children can and should start thinking of ways to take care of their parents now. It will give them and their loved ones more peace of mind–a valuable asset for both generations.