Guide to Long Term Care Planning
July 30, 2014
Aging seniors and their family caregivers often become overwhelmed by the myriad of issues they face as their health declines and they lose their ability to remain independent. Losing independence generally happens gradually, but can come quickly without warning.
When health declines, less serious needs generally arise first. These may include maintaining a household, preparing meals, shopping, paying bills, visiting the doctor, and managing medications properly. Generally, these needs are met by the spouse, adult children, or close friends of the elderly. More than 65 million people in the United States provide help for free to an aging family member or friend and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing this assistance. Although somewhat manageable at first, family caregiving over time can produce a serious amount of stress and financial burden. The AARP Public Policy Institute reports that:
"Caregivers can suffer loss of wages, health insurance and other job benefits, retirement saving or investing, and Social Security benefits - losses that hold serious consequences for the "career caregiver." A reported 37% of caregivers quit their jobs or reduced their work hours to care for someone 50+ in 2007 (70% of working caregivers suffer work-related difficulties due to their dual caregiving roles)."
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The articles below are provided by the National Care Planning Council. Each article is written to help families recognize the need for long term care planning and to help implement that planning. All elderly people, regardless of current health, should have a long term care plan.