We at The Humphreys Group realize what multiple studies show: The population of those living into older age is getting larger in the United States and will continue to do so for some time. As costs keep rising to meet the growing demand for health-related services for the elderly, there is an increasing need for aging adults and those who are close to them to plan for their long-term care.
However, we know it can be challenging to begin talking with aging loved ones about their long-term care preferences, especially when home, health and finances are involved. And so we offer the following suggestions on how to start the discussion:
- Do your homework. Before you begin a discussion with an aging loved one — and before an aging loved one requires health assistance — acquire a basic knowledge about the many different types of longer-term health care. Also determine what types of care are available where your loved one lives, and gain a general sense of what the potential costs of such care may be. Begin to introduce the topic of long-term care into conversations as a way to prepare for specific talk about the issue.
- Listen. Before you make any big decisions, share your questions and concerns about your aging loved one’s well-being, and have them share their wishes and concerns with you about their long-term health care. Work together to develop a concrete yet flexible strategy to address health-related issues that may arrive with age.
- Plan. Once you have a better sense of a loved one’s long-term health care preferences, it’s time to help assess their financial circumstances. These types of costs are varied and complex, and it’s no secret they are rising and will continue to do so for the next decade or more.
- Consider outside advice. If your loved one hasn’t already done so, it may be helpful to work with an experienced and trusted financial advisor to develop plans that can support paying for long-term care. We also recommend both you and your aging loved one keep in touch with other individuals, as well as personal and professional groups, that can provide information about long-term health care and assist in addressing physical, mental, spiritual, emotional and financial challenges that arise along the way.
We are well-aware that growing older is a dynamic process, marked with unique experiences that are as numerous and varied as those individuals living long lives. Our next blog will focus on how to begin a conversation about long-term health care. Contact The Humphreys Groups for professional guidance on how you can work with an aging loved one to help them secure and afford the kind of long-term health care they want.