A recent poll from Age Wave/Harris Interactive showed that 55 percent of Americans are concerned with health care issues that could lead to them being a burden on their family. Surprisingly, more than 90 percent of the respondents in the survey said they hadn't spoken to their spouse, adult children or aging parents about extended-care issues.
As more baby boomers reach retirement age, a large portion of their generation will need long-term care at some point. Unfortunately, the cost of this type of care is steep, and even those who have reached Medicare eligibility are likely not covered. That's because Medicare only covers long-term care for a short amount of time – up to 100 days with some coverage. After that time, most seniors are left to cover these long-term costs on their own.
Give the gift of coverage
There is one option that can help cover these health care expenses, but not enough Americans invest in long-term care insurance. According to a report from MarketWatch, getting Mom or Dad long-term care insurance might be one of the most useful presents of their lifetime, if they don't already have it. Because people are living longer in retirement, more Americans will likely need these services at some point. Without coverage, the high cost of long-term care could leave many seniors in financial trouble.
In some cases, the person who needs the care may not be affected by a lack of insurance, but the expenses can put a significant financial strain on the rest of the family, confirming the fears that 55 percent of Americans have. Families may need to use their life savings or other sources of income to fund long-term care, which can quickly drain resources.
For this reason, it is essential that families discuss getting long-term care insurance or purchase it for those who may need it in the future.
"Discussions that include the entire family are imperative to navigating through the potential financial and emotional risks that an unexpected illness can impose," said Ken Dychtwald, a psychologist, gerontologist, author and expert on aging, health and retirement. "Yet families still avoid talking to each other about how they would potentially manage the care of a loved one, should the need arise."
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