We’re a nation in denial: most Americans significantly underestimate their chances of needing long term care and few are making any attempt to protect themselves. A recent poll conducted by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research made some surprising findings:
- Two-thirds have done little to no planning. This is even more amazing when you consider that more than 50% of those polled admitted to caring for an impaired loved one or friend.
- 30% prefer not to think about getting older. Perhaps it is not hard to understand why people are in denial when so many rather not even think about getting older.
- Most people expect family to care for them. The undeniable truth is that most family members are unable or unwilling to be a full-time caregiver.
- Only 25% expect to need long term care in their later years. Government statistics show that nearly 70% of adults over age 65 will need long term care at some point whether in their home, an assisted living or in a nursing home.
- Nearly 60% underestimate the cost of nursing home care. Most people are astonished to learn that nursing homes in Michigan cost on average nearly $8300.00 per month – almost $100,000.00 per year.
- 37% believe Medicare will pay for nursing home care. Medicare only covers up to a maximum of 100 days of skilled care in a nursing home – with a co-pay after 20 days. Most long term care however is custodial care which is not covered by Medicare.
- Only 27% are confident they will have the financial resources they need. As people get older, they tend to make more of an effort to plan for their future. Unfortunately, most people start too late to adequately prepare. Remember, the best planners always begin planning early.
In nearly twenty five years of practicing law, I have never met anyone who regretted planning for their legal and financial needs. The best planners have the peace of mind knowing that no matter what happens, they don’t have to worry. Be sure that you are prepared – see an experienced elder law attorney today.
- Ask For Help. Too often when people are overwhelmed with caring for their parents, they are reluctant to ask even their own family for help. For example, it is quite common for one child to be the primary caregiver for a parent even though other children are willing and able to help. Don’t be a superhero and try to do everything yourself.
- Call In The Pros. If you think you have all the answers, your likely to make some serious and very costly mistakes. With all the legal, medical and financial issues facing the sandwich generation, you are likely to require at a minimum, the expertise from a gerontologist, financial planner and elder law attorney. Don’t assume you can figure it all out on your own.