Every day, more than 40 million Americans take care of their loved ones, so they can live independently at home. A new poll by the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement shows that most Americans are unprepared to be a family caregiver, uninformed about the cost of long-term care, and even unaware of their risk for Alzheimer’s. The majority of those surveyed say they want a family member to care for them but haven’t even had the conversation with their loved ones about what that means or how much it will cost.
The time to start the conversation about a loved one’s future health care needs is not during a health crisis.
This holiday season, BPC is encouraging families to start this important conversation with three basic questions:
1. Have you created a plan in case you need long-term care in the future?
Since Medicare doesn’t pay for long-term care, people rely on family, friends, long-term care insurance or personal savings to pay for caregiving.
2. If you need help when you get older, who would you want to be your caregiver?
More than half of adults who reach 65 will not be able to live on their own someday without help. Some will need high-levels of costly long-term care services such as managing medications, bathing, dressing, and cooking.
3. Do you know how much long-term caregiving costs?
The out-of-pocket expenses for long-term caregiving can be very expensive. The average annual cost to live in a nursing facility is $87,600 and the annual cost for a home health aide is more than $45,800. Families pay for more than 50 percent of costs for high-level needs that older Americans face.