An article published by Forbes addressed the topic of who will be there to take care of childless Boomers. Yes, it is a concern with that group, but it’s also something that couples with children should think about very carefully. Pew Research states that 47% of 49-59 year old adults are “sandwiched” between caring for their aging parents while at the same time supporting their own children. I am one of those adult children who live close enough to my parents that I can, and do, walk to their house. That’s while pursuing a full time career, and managing a household of young children. Make no mistake; we want to be there for our parents so they are able to continue to live at home for as long as possible. However, it’s logistically complicated and often stressful for adult children and their parents.
One very promising way to reduce stress for everyone is to create a long-term care plan while you are still healthy – whether you have children or not. Such a plan involves the following critical components:
- care coordination,
- home safety modifications,
- access to home care and a skilled nursing facility,
- a good working relationship with a primary care doctor that listens to you,
- working knowledge of a range of medical services available to you – including walk-in clinics, house call services,
- Moreover, an openness to learning about new technology and applications for home safety, home delivery and more.
You could rely on the default “My Kids will Take Care of Me” plan, but think about a few of these scenarios first.
Can your adult children
- reasonably leave work to accompany you to all of your medical appointments?
- come to your home and help with medicines on a daily or weekly basis?
- help you get in/out of the shower regularly if your balance becomes shaky?
Bottom line is – as you begin planning for your future, think about all that might be involved in not only your care, but also coordinating that care. There are several options to consider, other than relying solely on your children:
- Be sure you have money set aside and plans for a care manager as well as for the care itself. This money is critical to being able to live in your own home.The Aging Life Care Association can provide you with a list of professionals in your area.
- If you have long-term care insurance, does it provide you with a trained care coordinator or just an 800 number when you need care? Remember a time when you were sick or hospitalized. Getting what you need needs to be easy and not fraught with lots of logistical steps.
- Consider the benefits of a Life Plan at Home program, like LiveWell By Blakeford. Those programs provide extensive care management as well as help when you need it, in your own home.
Jane Kelley is the Executive Director of Community and Home Services for Blakeford which includes the Life Plan at Home program, LiveWell By Blakeford, and the at-home care services of Blakeford At Home.