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Family Caregiving for Seniors - SageCorner Blog

Lack of Planning

by Deah on Thursday, January 4, 2018 8:33 AM

As we go about life in our earlier years, we do not give much consideration to what our elder years are going to look like - financially or physically. This lack of planning can cause a great burden on the family if not given proper consideration. As we baby boomers are now entering this stage of life, we will put an even bigger burden on our loved ones and possible on our long term care options.

Presently a vast majority of in-home care is provided by unpaid family members. Typically, the eighties are the years when we start seeing our elderly loved ones needing some type of serious caregiving - if not already required because of some other specific illness. By the time the last of the baby boomers reach retirement age, the elderly population is expected to be double that of present day. There are many factors that will eventually create a situation in which there will be more people in need of care than there are family caregivers available to offer family care. This is due to demographics, having fewer children, divorce, and single parenting.

How likely are we to need long term care? The need for some type of nursing home care, assisted living or care provided by a loved one greatly increases as we age and the financial burdens do as well. Just a few things to consider when you are thinking about what your needs might be when you reach those very golden years: our gene pool, current health, activity level, diet and exercise routine.

Good habits can delay the need for care; however, in the event of any unforeseen cognitive challenges, it changes the whole ball game. Seventy percent of people turning 65 can expect to use some form of long term care. Good planning will help protect assets and give our loved ones comfort and peace in their later years.

There are those who think government programs will be there to help, but the existing funding is already stretched thin for long term care services. Studies have shown that if we as a population do not plan for the likely scenario of needing some form of caregiving - and these government programs are not increased - many elderly will face serious problems when needing health care and long term services. There is presently talk about cutting some of this funding.

They are calling 2030 the year when we come face to face with these challenges. Many elderly will not have enough income or assets to cover this inevitable care. The American population is doing very little to plan and save for the care and assistance they may desperately need in old age.

No one likes to talk to their parents or other loved ones about these types of future possibilities. Most elderly want to live independently and want to stay in their homes. Given the probability that may not be possible, a discussion on possible care options needs to take place before hand. Discuss what the preferences are, what end of life should look like, and even funeral arrangements. And do not forget how care would be financed. My parents have purchased and paid for their funeral, the resting place and even the tombstone but we have yet to discuss what their living arrangements are going to be. They are fast approaching not being able to live alone anymore. Their comments when trying to address this is only that they want to stay in their home. In doing that, it is not just the caregiving that concerns me, but the maintenance of the house. Just another thing to take into consideration when planning.

If the subject is uncomfortable, such as it is for us, keep it ongoing and hopefully each time it is brought up it will become more comfortable for your loved ones to talk about. Remember to be respectful of your parents’ wishes even if they are different from what you think should be done.


Tips and ideas to help care for a senior loved one at home.


Lori Paterno, M.Ed. Has a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling From Penn State University.  She has over 20 years professional experience in Human Services, Counseling, and Education.

Lori Paterno, M.Ed. Has a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling From Penn State University.  She has over 20 years professional experience in Human Services, Counseling, and Education. 
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