When we’re kids we think nothing will ever happen to our parents. We just assume they’ll be there by our side forever. But as they get older and start to experience healthy issues we come to understand that they will one day be gone. It’s not an easy thing to think about but we all will experience it one day.
Of course it isn’t just death that we have to worry about. We also have to consider who will care for our aging parents as their health continues to deteriorate.
Are you or another family member willing to move in and care for an aging parent yourself? Keep in mind you will basically be putting your entire life on hold indefinitely, but also remember these are your parents and they did the same for you when you were a child. Of course, even if you are willing to provide care yourself, you might not be capable. Eventually your parent’s health may deteriorate to the point where they require specialized care around the clock.
If your parent has to stay in a long term care facility you will quickly be shocked at the cost. My mother-in-law stayed in a skilled nursing facility for a few months before she passed and the cost was staggering. Even a short stay can quickly erode a lifetime of savings.
Medicare will only cover short stays in skilled nursing facilities. And Medicaid can be difficult to qualify for with its strict limits on income and liquid assets. Your parents may be required to spend down their assets before they will even qualify.
A possible alternative is to purchase long term care insurance privately to cover the cost of care. Long term care insurance will cover a variety of expenses both in the home and in a skilled nursing facility. Costs will vary depending on your age, health, and the amount of coverage you choose, but in the long run it will likely save you a small fortune.