Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Father’s Day and LTC: Helping Dad Get More Time with the Family


A dance partner, a superhero, a confidant—Dad has played important roles in our lives. From broken toys to broken hearts, our fathers (and father figures) have always been our constant with his comforting smile and steady guidance. However, the reality of life is that this cannot last for as long as we all hope. Like all human beings, superhero dads also age and along with that come the limitations it may bring. When that happens, Dad might look to us for help. And without proper planning, we have to be ready for what that might entail.   

Old age is inevitable for many of us, and yet not everyone is prepared for what that means. While it could mean brief stays in nursing homes for some, it could mean years and years of staying in specialized assisted living facilities and 24-hour paid supervisions; and these institutions are not cheap.

To illustrate this, the Alzheimer’s Association brings to our attention that there are more than 5 million Americans dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. Those are five million individuals and families dealing with the cost and care for Alzheimer’s. This disease and other forms of dementia cost family caregivers more than $5,000 a year. Long term care can cost a person his or her savings and relying solely on Medicaid is too big a risk for anyone.

Father’s Day is a holiday designed to show Dad how much we appreciate him and all that he has done. So what better way to show him our appreciation than by providing the means to secure a longer future with his loved ones? As we gear up for the festivities and wrap our presents, remember the one thing that matters the most for all dads: more years to spend with his family.

Longer life spans mean more sick years
People are now living longer and that is something worth celebrating. However, longer years mean more sick years. Men have to prepare for approximately 9.7 years of these unhealthy years. While this is relatively shorter than the 11 years that women have to face, it still requires a great deal of planning from the men.

What makes this new discovery even more concerning is that not everyone is prepared for it. In a survey done by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, they discovered that one-third of their respondents have not planned for their long term care at all. Many of the elderly end up relying on their family members or draining their life savings to fund the care that they need.

Humans may be living longer, but only a handful gets to maintain their health. With the cost of long term care steadily rising, the lack of a proper plan can have severe repercussions on you and your parents.

Men have shorter life spans
While we now get to enjoy longevity, men still live shorter lives than women. On average, men in the United States live up to 76 years old while women can expect to live up to 81 years old.  Because of this, Dad often looks to Mom for the care that he needs. This could lead to Mom getting sick in the future with no spouse to turn to. This is why it is necessary to have a long term care plan in place as early as you can.

You get to help Dad keep Mom safe
Women are the primary caregivers in the family. Nurturing in nature, they are the ones who often step up and provide the care that children and their spouses need. When the time comes that they need the care, their resources are most likely depleted from trying to meet the care demands of her husband.

Having a set long term care in place for Dad does not only benefit him, it also benefits Mom in the long run. You get to give your father the peace of mind that if anything should happen, his wife will have the necessary funds to pay for the care she might need.

Take the fear of being a burden away
Nobody likes the thought of being a burden to anyone, especially to our families. Parents do not want their children to worry about their care expenses, but sometimes they do not have another choice. Family members, specifically daughters, take on the responsibility providing the care for their loved ones, from the cost to the actual care.

While most children are more than willing to provide the funds, long term care coverage provides them with the means to pay for their own care. Long term care planning can alleviate this self-perceived burden.

Taking that fear away from Dad may be the best gift you can give him this Father’s day. No one should fear aging and we have to help our loved ones achieve that.

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