The phrase “aging with grace” has taken on a new meaning in modern times. As we age, we not only face the typical challenges associated with getting older but also a new set of factors that have reshaped the aging process. It’s crucial for individuals to confront these challenges head-on rather than avoiding them altogether. The good news is that people are becoming more proactive about aging, particularly those who have taken on the role of caregivers themselves. Recent data from New York Life reveals members of the Sandwich Generation, who care for aging parents and children, are actively saving for retirement, purchasing long-term care insurance, and setting aside funds for their children’s future care.
Changing Care Options
The aging population continues to transform the landscape of care options. In the past, Americans could rely on federal support to meet their retirement needs. However, today’s retirees can no longer be certain about the availability of such support. Federal programs are already under strain, with a significant increase in the number of retirees receiving social security benefits. In addition, the U.S. Census Bureau states approximately 4.4 million Americans (12,000 people per day) will turn 65 in 2024, placing even more pressure on an already stretched system.
Statistically, individuals aged 65 or older have a 70% chance of requiring some form of long-term care support. Surprisingly, Medicare does not cover long-term care, and Medicaid coverage is limited to approved facilities, leaving individuals with minimal control over their aging journey. In addition, to qualify for Medicaid coverage, individuals must exhaust a significant portion of their hard-earned assets. Although some states have introduced long-term care funding programs, the limited benefits they offer are unlikely to cover the substantial costs associated with long-term care.
The Role Of Private Insurance
The retreat of many private insurance carriers from the long-term care space has left consumers with fewer options. However, private insurance alone cannot provide a comprehensive solution. While the current landscape may appear overwhelming, there are viable options available. As a business owner, you play a crucial role in supporting your client’s lifestyle goals as they age, including helping them design a robust financial strategy to meet their long-term care needs.
Pandemic-Era Trends And Costs Of Care
The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of at-home care, with 88% of Americans expressing a preference for receiving ongoing assistance in their own homes or with loved ones. In-home care costs an average of $60,570 annually, while a one-bedroom assisted living apartment costs around $63,337 annually. The average cost of a year’s care in a private Medicare-certified long-term nursing home room is $116,577. This preference for at-home care places additional strain on caregivers, impacting their personal finances, mental health, and social lives. Caregiving is often emotionally, socially, physically, and financially more challenging than expected, particularly for women who tend to spend more time caring for aging relatives.
Building Support Systems
As more individuals opt for aging at home, robust support networks become increasingly critical. Caregivers face mounting physical and mental health challenges, making it essential to establish reliable support systems. Data indicates that caregivers are already seeking help, with family members and friends being the most common sources of support. Planning for a network of paid and unpaid caregivers empowers individuals to maintain control over their care situation while alleviating the burden on individual caregivers.
The Role Of Financial Planning
Financial planning is often the weakest link in people’s support systems. Encourage your clients to plan early for their long-term care needs, regularly reassess their plans, and make necessary adjustments. Collaborating with a trusted financial professional can make all the difference, providing clients with the confidence and peace of mind they need as they navigate the complexities of long-term care.
Addressing Long-Term Care Challenges With A PEO
In navigating the increasingly complex landscape of long-term care, small business owners face unique challenges in supporting their employees and planning for their future care needs. A professional employer organization (PEO) can lend a helping hand in this journey, offering comprehensive solutions to address the evolving needs of employees and employers.
Small business owners can access tailored benefits packages, expert guidance on financial planning for long-term care, and support in establishing robust support systems for employees when they partner with a PEO. In addition, GMS, a certified PEO (CPEO), can provide access to cost-effective insurance options and valuable resources to help small business owners and their employees navigate the intricacies of long-term care planning. Address the long-term care needs of your employees while securing their financial well-being by partnering with GMS. Contact us today to learn more.