Why is planning for long-term care (LTC) important? It comes down to consequences: financial, physical, mental, and emotional.
How does a long-term care situation affect your family, spouse, adult kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, etc?
A long-term care situation is more than an expense. It has a ripple effect as it impacts people around you.
We know that if you need care, it’s expensive and it’s only going to continue to get more expensive in the future. Check out Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey here to see how much care costs near you.
Will you need to spend down your retirement savings on care? Will you have to liquid assets and convert them to income to pay for your care? Will you be able to leave a legacy to your kids and grandkids?
Will your loved ones want to write a check every month for your care? Will they cut corners and be stingy on the type of care you receive because they want to save money?
If your family members need to reduce hours at work to provide care for you, how does that impact them financially?
Will your spouse or family members be able to physically take care of you? If you need supervision from a cognitive impairment or if you can’t transfer, toilet, bathe, dress, or eat, are they capable of helping you do those activities of daily living? Will they want to? How does that affect their health?
Will they neglect their own health by eating a poor diet, sleeping poorly, not exercising, or not going to their own health care appointments?
Increased levels of stress and depression are commonly found amongst caregivers. Caregiving for someone with a cognitive impairment like Dementia is associated with even higher levels of distress and depression than caring for someone who doesn’t have dementia. Over time, the stress of caregiving can negatively impact the caregiver’s health.
Caregiver burnout is also common for caregivers. They can experience physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. Burnout can occur when caregivers don’t get the help they need or if they try to do more than they are able, physically or financially.
The Bottom Line
Nearly one in five (19%) people in the U.S. are providing unpaid care to an adult with health or functional needs. Most people have a long-term care story or know someone that has been through a long-term care situation with a family member.
The lesson is to plan ahead. Have “Planning for Care” conversations with your family to reduce these consequences. Talk about how you will pay for care, who will provide care, where you want to receive care, and caregiving preferences to reduce future consequences.