Why You Should Include Long-Term Care in Your Retirement Plan

Older retired couple wading in the sea

By Patricia LaCroix, Contributing Writer

When it comes to planning for retirement, many future retirees are concerned about their finances and their ability to maintain their current standard of living.

But how many are concerned about their care?

We all get older. For Baby Boomers, that time is now. According to Pew Research, as of July 1, 2019, the Baby Boom generation numbered 71.6 million people. The first Baby Boomers reached the age 65 in 2011. The last Baby Boomers will reach age 65 in 2029 — less than a decade from when this article is being published.

Many Baby Boomers and Generation Xers are caring for their own parents. And yet, it might not even occur to them that — relatively quickly — they could be in a similar situation as their folks.

Along with advancing years comes physical and mental decline. While for some that decline happens at a quicker pace and for others it happens much slower, it still happens. Because people are living longer, significant decline in our so-called “golden” years is all the more inevitable. Old age, in and of itself, introduces a number of health risks and physical limitations that we need to plan for if we want to live content and comfortable lives for many years to come.

Moreover, if we want those years to be spent for as long as possible in our own homes, even more planning is required to ensure that actually happens. If senior long-term care — and in particular, in-home care — is not addressed now, it might not even be an option when it’s badly needed.

Why you need to plan for your own senior care

An important first step is recognizing the importance of planning one’s own senior care. Here are some reasons why you should include long-term care in your retirement plan.

You don’t want to burden your children with your senior care.

So often as people get older, the burden of the care falls upon their adult children. This can manifest itself both in financial terms and also as a toll on the physical and mental well-being should any adult child have to take on the responsibilities of caring for the parent.

You don’t want all of your savings going to your senior care.

If you hoped to have an inheritance to pass on to your family, not planning for your long-term care might mean that your financial resources will eventually be allocated to the care you’ll need. Even if a family members picks up the responsibility of caring for the senior loved one, there are often still financial repercussions, especially for the person doing the care. Many times, it becomes impossible to be a caregiver for a parent and still retain employment. And there are, of course, costs associated with providing care to any human being — food, supplies, medications — and those costs can certainly add up over time.

You don’t want a lack of senior care options.

There’s an old saying: “Let’s cross the bridge when we get to it.” But what if the bridge is out?

It’s important to know what your options are for care as a senior and decide ahead of time which option you prefer, so you can fully be prepared for it financially. Otherwise, there’s a chance that when the time comes to “cross the bridge,” the bridge — or in other words, that option — will not be available.

Most people would love to stay in their own home as long as possible. In knowing that, be sure to include in your retirement plan how finances will be available to help make in-home care a reality when the time comes.

You don’t want to make a hasty decision about your senior care.

Likewise, you don’t want to have to make a decision about your choice quickly, without having the chance to give it prudent thought and consideration. But if your needs arrive quickly, you might have no choice but to make a fast, uneducated decision that might not in your utmost best interest.

Thinking about your choices now — when you are healthy and of a sound mind.  Considering and planning for your decision and any other costs ahead of time will help you ensure that when the time comes, you’ll receive the care that’s best and right for you. It will also give you the opportunity to make clear to your family what your decisions are and what choice you intend to pursue.

Taking the next steps in planning for your long-term care

To plan well for your care as a senior in the future, you might want to sit down with a financial advisor who can take you through all the proper steps and make sure that your own senior care is part of your retirement plan. It might also be helpful to speak to an insurance agent to discuss options for long-term care insurance.

You might also want to explore, ahead of time, what some of your options are for senior care and the agencies that offer those options. If you live in the Chicago area or Denver area, one option is Care & Comfort at Home. This in-home care agency provides a wealth of services for seniors, including meal preparation, grooming, running errands, and so much more. In Chicagoland, Care & Comfort at Home can also provide skilled nursing care, which allows seniors to receive many medical services, right in their own home. Care & Comfort at Home also specializes in assisting veterans who qualify for in-home care benefits.

Care & Comfort at Home provides FREE consultations if you’d like to learn more about what they can do for you — now, and in the future. If you are in Chicagoland or the Denver area, contact Care & Comfort at Home today by calling 630-333-9262 in Chicagoland, 720-788-0611 in the Denver area, or just CLICK HERE to contact us via our online form for either location.