Family members have long provided caregiving for their aging loved ones, but estimates are indicating that there won’t be enough of them for the job in the near future. A recent Forbes article entitled “As Baby Boomers Move Into Old Age, Who Will Care For Us?” mentions that it’s estimated that 117 million Americans will need assistance by 2020, but the number of unpaid caregivers will only be 45 million. Keep in mind that family caregivers provide an estimated $500 billion worth of free care annually.
What caused this gap? The answer is that family members have moved far away, there’s been a decline in birthrates, more women are working, and there’s a projected increase in the number of dementia and Alzheimer’s patients.
So how will our aging population be cared for? According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), 90% of seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age.
Technology might be able to help with that. There’s remote activity monitoring that uses in-home sensors that can alert remote family members, caregivers, or emergency response services to changes in the daily activities of their older family members. Emergency pendants can be pressed in case of an emergency, such as after a fall. There are devices to remind and dispense medications. Video chatting with aging relatives can be a very effective way to gauge how a senior is doing. There are even robots that can lift people into and out of bed.
But the fact is that as they age, many people will reach a point where they need to think about hiring a paid caregiver or look into other paid care options like the Massachusetts Community Choices Program, which provides seniors with a variety of at-home services through agencies that have contracted with MassHealth.
It’s important to consider these costs in your retirement plan. We can help you create an estate plan that protects your assets and helps you qualify for MassHealth if and when you need it. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617.299.6976 today to set up your free initial consultation.