Women caregivers are sacrificing more than their time, energy, and emotion to care for their families while holding full-time jobs.
Edith is mom to two high school kids, a sophomore and a senior. The oldest has just finished the grueling task of sifting through myriad scholarship offers and will be off to university in the fall. Her younger child is now beginning to garner the attention of college recruiters, and the two-year process will begin again.
It’s exhausting to Edith to even think about going through two more years of the recruitment process. But she’s glad her children are talented, and she and her husband have the means to help them develop. Athletic scholarships can mean greatly reduced college expenses.
Edith also has a full-time job as a teacher. She provides weekly support to her nearby parents, both financially and with appointments, errands, and shopping. And recently, Edith’s mother-in-law moved in with the family after showing signs of dementia.
Feeling overwhelmed, Edith is considering either dropping to part-time teaching or taking early retirement. Both options would have financial consequences for the family, but particularly for Edith’s personal financial future.
Sound familiar? All too often women take on more responsibility than is reasonable for one person.
In his book Caring for Our Parents, Howard Gleckman dubbed women like Edith, and maybe you too, the “conscientious daughter.” He says (with tongue in cheek) that in America, the best long-term care insurance is a conscientious daughter.
It’s a concept that begs examination. Should women be expected to sacrifice their careers, retirements, finances, and lifestyles on the altar of the conscientious daughter? Surely, there’s a better way that serves everyone.
And there is. Gleckman devotes an entire chapter to discussing long-term care insurance and why it should be central to retirement planning.
Listen in as two CPAs discuss relying on your children for your long-term care needs. Call us at 844 805 3557 to talk about making a more sensible plan.
Advice from a Conscientious Daughter
Suze Orman, financial guru and former advisor for Merrill Lynch has unique insights into the financial and emotional costs of long-term care.
She is also a conscientious daughter.
So when her mother needed long-term care, she uprooted her life in California and moved to Florida to be nearby.
Orman’s story is not unique. Families are increasingly faced with the challenges of providing some level of long-term care for their loved ones. Most often, it is women caregivers who take on the daily needs of mothers and fathers, or other family members.
An AARP Fact Sheet cites data that shows approximately 7 million adults aged 65 or older needed long-term support and services in 2014. Another study published in the JAMA Neurology journal estimates that the number of older Americans needing dementia care alone will rise to approximately 8.4 million by 2030.
Combine these factors with a shrinking eldercare workforce, rising costs of long-term care, and the small percentage of Americans who have done long-term care planning, and we have a recipe for disaster.
A Looming Crisis for Women Caregivers
Roni Caryn Rabin of the New York Times writes that these statistics present a “looming crisis for women.” In “Health Care? Daughters Know All about It,” she points out that women provide the most eldercare in the United States. From paying bills to bathing, dressing, and feeding elderly friends or family, the task falls on unpaid women.
Women caregivers make up two-thirds of long-term care providers. And daughters are far more likely than sons to care for their parents. Daughters often sacrifice their own health, time with their families, and even careers and financial well-being to do so.
Luckily, there are solutions that can help ease the burden on women caregivers. There are a couple of good long-term care insurance policies that include a cash option, which can pay in-home caregivers. This could offset some of the financial losses women might otherwise experience.
These insurance policies also cover respite care when the primary caregiver needs a break or is unavailable for a while. In addition, policies like Flex-Plan Advantage allow you to transfer payments to assisted living or nursing homes. This flexibility is crucial when staying at home is no longer the best option for either parent or caregiver.
Many people have never considered purchasing long-term care insurance, but Orman says that’s a mistake.
As with other types of policies, like homeowner’s insurance, LTCI buys you peace of mind and financial security. In Suze Orman’s Financial Guidebook, she writes, “[a] big part of financial freedom is having your heart and mind free from worry about the what-ifs in life.”
High Cost of Not Planning for Long Term Care
So, how did a renowned financial expert end up the in the same position as millions of other “conscientious daughters”? Unlike most people, Orman knew that her mother’s long-term care would not be covered by Medicare or Medicaid. Medicaid currently covers nursing home care, but only for people with limited incomes and resources. And eligibility is determined by each state.
Suze Orman, of course, was aware of long-term care insurance and even filled out the paperwork for her mother. But her mother never signed the documents and submitted them, so no long-term care insurance was in place.
Orman ended up spending several thousand dollars per month for round-the-clock care during her mother’s last two years. She acknowledges that she was lucky to be able to afford the costs of 24/7 care. For many American families, this level of care would not be financially possible.
How to Begin Long-term Care Planning
Studies show that the two biggest fears of seniors are leaving their own homes, and becoming burdens on their children.
The good news is that buying insurance for long-term care is actually a pretty simple process. The friendly and knowledgeable staff at Capital Retention can pre-qualify applicants over the phone. The rest of the process consists of having an initial health screening and filling out the application form.
If you’re a conscientious daughter whose parents don’t have long-term care insurance in place, you should talk with them. It’s better to help them with the monthly premiums, if necessary, than to imperil your own financial future.
If you have a conscientious daughter, protect her financial future from your long-term care needs with long-term care insurance.
Contact Capital Retention to arm yourself with information. Consultations are quick, easy, and free.
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