How to help our parents, friends and neighbors, the oldest generation?
How to decide what on services? Who can help?
The oldest generation and what they can teach us about masterful aging gracefully? First, we need to define, who is the oldest generation? Defining the oldest generation is to each and every one of us. They are our parents, grandparents, and neighbors. This is the correct answer for all of us. Each of us has people who are older. They have been called The Greatest Generation, the Sandwich Generation, and many more descriptive, collective
Many of us provide emotional and physical care for our relatives. The time in our lives was originally spent to look forward to as our retirement in the ‘golden years’. We all became aware of a change in financial status when there was a banking bubble that burst in the 2000’s. Originally believing this downturn would right itself and our retirement funds would be safe once again. Time and investigation have provided a much closer look at our situation. Now we know the truth and we do not have the time or education to amass another retirement fund.
Our parent’s also had their funds invested, believing they were safe to provide for health and lifestyle as they entered their 'Golden Years'. Now we see that the Oldest of the Old is very possibly our parents and in many cases ourselves. Where do we go from here?
We need to prepare as a society to care for our older adults. This is the time to put on those ‘thinking hats’ and look to how we can make it. We need to look for financial information to help us go forward with a financial plan for our parents. For many of us, our parents lived through a time when finances and investments were not discussed. Now is the time to discuss and learn not only where the funds are housed but also what our parents want in their golden years.
What are we talking about, finances, medical problems, estate planning and more?
Certainly, health care is important for our retirement. It is about now that we find the Long-term Care Insurance Policy, our parents bought and paid for each month for years, is not going to meet their needs. How do we tell them? The first of the long – term care policies was aimed to belay fears of being left in a nursing home. These policies were for physical medical care for those aging in place. They were not for dementia, dependent on drugs or looking at a progressive medical diagnosis. Most of these policies were at the time of selling the best insurance to get. Today due to medical research and advances this insurance in most cases does not meet the needs.
Stepping back to look at how we will met the financial obligations to meet all of these new expenses. Attention today must be paid to the how we can pay for home care, assisted living or extraordinary medical care. Currently, Medicaid and Medicare are blanketed in paying for a short time need. Believing our medical system would provide in the short time to diagnosis and treat our loved ones. Now we look at the long-term help, providing a safety net for those diagnosed with dementia (dementia is associated with many different diseases). How are we to develop care for those addicted to alcohol and drugs (this would be the scourge of our parent’s and our generations)? Alcohol and drug addiction have been sweep into a corner for so long many may not even recognize the symptoms. Many designer illnesses are seen now that were not seen before. Although having been there for years we have changed the names (Dementia was Organic Brain Syndrome in the 1980s). And of course, we must also pay attention to those illnesses which are on the rise again (polio, shingles and more).
Finding the answers can be easier than some might think.
There is some help available, we only need to sit down with family and put a plan together. First finding all assets, then looking at the impact of losing these assets. We will need more than our home, collectively adjusting our lifestyle and more to meet present day medical care. Helping our parents, siblings, and others are minor compared to buying a house. First, we need to meet with the person(s) which we are attempting to help and understand what they are expecting. This is very important and should be the first consideration to help them meet their expectations.
After looking at the expectations desired to meet the needs and understanding how we can make this happen. There are those having all the funding they will ever need and will be able to continue meeting their needs financially. However, it is more likely costs will surpass the funding available. We will need the skills of an Elder Care Manager or Geriatric Case Manager. Finding the answers to these alto important questions and more while helping our loved ones.