Do Boomers Owe It To Their Parents to Provide Long Term Care?
As the aging population continues to explode across the United States, more families are facing tough decisions regarding long term care. One question that has a large bearing on the issue arises time and time again: just how much, if anything, do we owe our parents?
What Do Boomers Owe Their Parents?
A recent article focuses on this question of what Boomers owe their parents. As we grow up and continue on with our lives away from our parents, modern society has it that most adult children no longer live very close to their aging parents. So, when one or both of those parents suddenly needs care, be it for a physical disability, mental disease like Alzheimer’s, or simply help performing basic daily tasks, the situation often becomes quite complicated.
If the elderly parents have a Long Term Care Insurance policy, they often don’t need the help of their adult children. Instead, their policy provides benefits that cover the cost of care, typically received in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and increasingly, at home. Most people don’t have Long Term Care Insurance, though, so figuring out where to get the necessary care can be a big problem. A recent survey delved deeper into the subject of family dynamics to find out what the average person thinks they owe their parents and why they think that way.
More magazine conducted the survey, which polled 751 adults nationwide about their thoughts on caring for their aging parents. Their findings were quite interesting and show a substantial difference in opinion amongst the respondents. When asked, 81% of participants said they plan to help care for their aging parents, one of the few common thread answers. Though 81% plan to take up this responsibility, one-quarter didn’t know what is involved in that care or how to pay for it. This isn’t surprising, considering most Americans are fairly unaware of the looming long term care crisis and haven’t stopped to consider how it may affect them in the future, either with their parents or for themselves.
When probed about the specifics of caring for their parents, the discrepancies between people’s beliefs of what we owe our parents began to show up. When asked what they would be willing to give up to care for their parents, 55% agreed that they would give up their daily lifestyle. This is almost a given, considering you can’t provide care for someone without altering at least part of your usual lifestyle. Just over one-third (38%), said they would give up “big-ticket items” like their car, vacation, and electronics to care for their parents. Once people move from the abstract concepts, like their daily life, to the more specific concepts of what they would give up, the willingness drops significantly.
23% of survey participants said they would give up their retirement savings to care for their parents. While this sounds like a nice sacrifice, it doesn’t really make much sense, because it places the adult child in the same context of financial vulnerability for the future that the parent is currently experiencing, and could potentially continue the cycle for their children, too. 15% said they would give up the value of their home, and only 7% would give up their child’s education fund.
Why Do We Owe Them Long Term Care?
The question of why these children would give up these things for their parents is also quite revealing. 46% attribute it to a sense of duty. This is often a common response. Because our parents gave us life and provided for us, it only makes sense that we return the favor to them. 26% said it was because of love, and 11% attributed it to a moral obligation.
Regardless of why people believe they owe it to their parents to provide them care, the fact is many of us will have to face that decision down the road if we don’t put a strategy in place. Long Term Care Insurance is one such strategy that can both help our parents receive quality care and help us avoid the burden of caring for our parents, which brings about immense emotional stress and financial responsibility.
Long Term Care Insurance provides benefits that help cover the cost of long term care and prevent the policyholder from having to deplete their assets to pay for care. If you are thinking about your aging parent’s future, consider looking into a Long Term Care Insurance policy for them. While you are researching, why not check out rates for yourself, too? The younger and healthier you are when you purchase a policy, the lower your premiums will be and the better coverage you can get. Long term care is a risk that all of us face, and putting a plan in place can help ease your mind and your wallet at the same time.