A poll out this week says that Americans aren't doing enough to prepare for long-term care when they get older and suggests that having a plan, or at least a discussion with relatives, could alleviate concerns that may occur down the road.
The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that only 25 percent of those age 40 and over think it is likely that they will need help getting around or caring for themselves in their senior years. This, the poll noted, is despite the fact that more than half of those polled said they had already been caregivers for an impaired friend or relative.
According to the poll's findings, most people figure that their family will help them if they need long-term care. The trouble is, according to the poll, 6 in 10 have not talked to loved ones about that possibility, or what their expectations for care would be.
In a story highlighting the results of the poll, The Associated Press wrote, "Even if they want to help, do your relatives have the time, money and know-how? What starts as driving Dad to the doctor or picking up his groceries gradually can turn into feeding and bathing him, maybe even doing tasks once left to nurses such as giving injections or cleaning open wounds. If loved ones can't do all that, can they afford to hire help? What if you no longer can live alone?"
Medicaid, the AP noted, is the main payer of long-term care in the U.S. But the problem with Medicaid, the story noted, is that seniors have to spend most of their savings and assets before they qualify.
The poll noted that only 27 percent of those responding said they thought they would have the financial resources they would need to deal with their care as they get older.
With the aging of the Boomer generation, more and more families are going to be facing similar circumstances where they will be providing care, or help to older family members.
Having conversations now about that possibility, the options that are available and the expectations of both the caregiver and the person in need of care can help families later on when they transition into this type of situation.