No one ever wants to consider this, but our parents are not as invincible as we thought they were when we were 5. They may be our superheroes, but they are not as full proof as the cape-clad beings we used to look up to when we were younger. What we are trying to say here is that our parents will need long term care in the future, whether we acknowledge it now or later.
As so many find these expenses too expensive to pay out of pocket, they have resorted to coverage like long term care insurance. Unlike Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance policies, this type of policy specifically works to reduce the weight of costs. Once the care requirements kick in, it acts as the barrier that keeps the policyholder’s assets and savings intact, as well as those of his or her loved ones.
However, another harsh reality is that not many realize the urgency of planning and securing coverage for long term care until it is too late. Many who have postponed until the last minute find that the costs are already too hard to manage. They end up resorting to less reliable programs or going about care without any sort of protection. As illustrated in this infographic, lacking coverage is a prelude to a disaster.
Enter the adult children. Perhaps, one of their biggest dilemmas now is this: should I pay for my parents’ care? Before you answer that question, let’s take a look at three important considerations.
Family Caregivers and Long Term Care
In a year, family caregivers spend approximately $6,954 for care services. While this may be a reasonable amount for some Americans, this equates to 44% of the total annual income of some family caregivers. As you can imagine, taking over your parents’ care can cause substantial strain on your finances. It can even risk your own retirement security and financial stability.
Filial Responsibility Laws
Not many are aware of these laws, but filial responsibility laws can hold children accountable for their parents’ care expenses—and it is in the law books of around 30 states. In the case of Health Care & Retirement Corp. of America v. Pittas, a son was ordered to pay for his mother’s $93,000 nursing home bill.
However, it has been dubbed as “long term care’s sleeping giant” because most states are not enforcing these regularly. Still, it is worth the consideration when it comes to talks about your parents’ care needs.
When It’s Okay to Say No
Your parents need expensive care now, but imagine how much your care will be in the future. Are you okay with relying on your children then? It is a tough pill to swallow, but you are allowed to look out for yourself, as well. If funding your parents’ puts at too great a risk, then you should consider other options.
This isn’t to say that you should abandon them. Instead, you should find alternatives and help from other loved ones. For instance, you and your siblings can split the responsibilities. If one is a bit more financially able, then he or she can shoulder the bulk of the costs while you do the legwork like the processing of papers. At the end of the day, you should also remember that you also have future care needs for which you have to plan and find coverage.
If we could share one last piece of advice, it is this: no matter how difficult it may seem at this point, you need to secure a plan for your own future long term care needs. This way, you can break the cycle of adult children rendered unable to plan for their care because of having to shoulder their parents’ care needs.