As medical science continues to find ways to help Americans live longer, it also requires us to examine some of the challenges of people living longer lives. The biggest, from both an emotional and financial point of view, may be providing ongoing care for a disabled adult.
By the numbers
According to the Family Caregivers Alliance National Center on Caregiving, 34 million adults provide care to a person age 50 or older. Almost 9 million of those caregivers are caring for someone with dementia, perhaps the most draining and lengthiest type of caregiving. Family caregiving falls disproportionately on females — up to 75% of caregivers are women.*
Choosing a family member as caregiver may seem like the automatic and least costly choice. But balancing being a spouse, parent and employee with caregiving responsibilities can exact a physical and emotional toll on caregivers. You may opt, instead, to provide professional caregiving for a loved one in need.
Questions for potential caregivers
When choosing an outside care provider, you should ask as many questions as will make you feel comfortable. You may hire a care company, but know the following about your individual caregiver, too. Ask:
- Do you have references?
- What type of training do you have?
- What are your professional qualifications?
- What is your experience with this particular type of caregiving?
Additionally, the company providing care should be licensed if required in your area, accredited by a recognized care organization or government agency and certified by Medicare. You might also ask your area’s eldercare agency or business watchdog if the care provider or individual providing the care has complaints against them. If the care will be provided outside your home, make an unannounced visit to the facility where the care will be given to get a real view of the day-to-day condition of the facility.
Paying for care
The financial cost for providing long-term care isn’t cheap. Whether buying in-home care services or care in a facility, these costs can be especially overwhelming for long-lasting conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Long-term care insurance may help you meet some or all of these costs. Learn how owning this insurance, especially when you’re younger and healthy, can be a cost-efficient way to provide potential future care.
* Family Caregivers Alliance, Selected Caregivers Statistics, 2005
FINRA Reference #FR2010-1129-0196/E 03/30/11
Christopher A. Perme is a registered representative of and offers securities, investment advisory and financial planning services through MML Investors Services, Inc. Member SIPC. Supervisory Office: 1660 W. 2nd Street # 850, Cleveland, OH 44113. 216-621-5680.