A recent 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.
The key to reducing stress for everyone is often creating a long-term care plan while you are still healthy – whether you have children or not. Such a plan involves critical components: financing, care coordination, home safety modifications, and access to home care and a skilled nursing facility. Rather than relying on the default “My kids will take care of me” plan, think about a few scenarios. 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 balance becomes shaky?; or assist you post-surgery as you recover fully?
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 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 really sick or hospitalized. Getting what you need really needs to be easy and not fraught with lots of logistical steps.
- Consider the benefits of a Continuing Care 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 LiveWell By Blakeford. In her seven years with Blakeford, she has served as Vice President of Blakeford at Home and served as the CARF-CCAC accreditation team leader for Home and Community Services and Case Management programs.