It’s a month of awareness campaigns. Among them is National Peanut Butter Lovers Month and at least 45 others including National Alzheimer’s Disease Month, National Family Caregivers Month and National Long-Term Care Awareness Month.
These all tie together for me. No not peanut butter even though it’s pretty sticky. Think about these facts, stats and quotations:
- Alzheimer’s Disease is a degenerative disorder of the brain that causes a gradual loss of brain cells leading to cognitive impairment, uncharacteristic behavior, poor judgment and ultimately death.
- Dementia including Alzheimer’s is the number one cause for long-term care insurance claims and more than half of all policy benefits paid are associated with dementia.
- What’s the risk? At age 65, one in 10 will be diagnosed with dementia. At age 85, one in three. And at age 90, one in two.
- Consider this: A person doesn’t get Alzheimer’s. A family does.
- Today, 16 million Americans provide unpaid care totaling 18.6 billion hours. Most, 66%, are females. Over one-third are daughters. And 32% of cases last five years or longer.
- Of the total lifetime cost of caring for someone with dementia, 70% is borne by families — either through out-of-pocket health and long-term care expenses or from the value of unpaid care.
- We know there is a significant impact on future financial security of adult children who become hands-on caregivers or who financially support the care of aging parents.
- “There are only four kinds of people in the world – those who have been caregivers, those who are caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers.” — Rosalynn Carter
- Do you have a plan for long-term care? Most Americans don’t. In fact, most Americans have not even discussed long-term care with their financial advisor, spouse/partner or adult children.
- The government projects that 70% of us aged 65 and older will need some level of long-term care in our remaining years. Yet only 10% of Americans over age 50 own long-term care insurance.
- What does that tell us? It’s the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. Okay. We get it. This is not a fun conversation. Nor is it a one-time, 15-minute chat.
- Three questions to start the plan:
- If you needed care, where would you want to receive care?
- If you needed care, who would you want to provide care?
- If you needed care, how would you pay for formal care?
In 2020, holidays may still be the perfect time to observe and talk with family about plans and desires for long-term care. It just might be via ZOOM this year!
COVID has placed challenges in our way of an already complex conversation. But it has also conveyed the importance of these discussions and the need for planning.