A study released last month from Merrill Lynch and AgeWave (“The Journey of Caregiving: Honor, Responsibility and Financial Complexity”) examines the emotional, functional and financial implications of caregiving. While 7 out of 10 Americans turning age 65 today will need “care for prolonged periods” and 1 out of 5 likely to need care for more than five years; few are prepared for this reality. In fact, most people are in denial that they are likely to eventually need care and even fewer have actually prepared financially for it.
The report recommends two critical steps to help prepare both potential caregivers and care recipients:(1) Talk openly with family members in advance. This should include where the person would want to live; who should provide the different aspects of their care; how to pay for it and the person’s legal documents; and (2) Seeking help when needed from financial, legal, medical or other professionals.