Loving Your Elderly Parents
A recent publication by Elder Law Attorney Evan Farr (VA, DC, MD) quoted some startling statistics:
- About 70% of Americans who live to age 65 will need long-term care at some time in their lives, over 40 percent in a nursing home.
- As of 2008, the national average cost of a private room in a nursing home was $212 per day or $77,380 per year, and the national average cost of a semi-private room was $191 per day or $69,715 per year.
- On average, someone age 65 today will need nursing home care for approximately three years. Twenty percent of individuals will need nursing home care for more than five years.
- Fifty percent of all couples and 70 percent of single persons become impoverished within one year after entering a nursing home.
- Long-term care is not just needed by the elderly. A study by a large insurance company found that 46 percent of its group long-term care claimants were under the age of 65 at the time of disability.
- Contrast the above long-term care statistics with statistics for automobile accident claims and homeowner’s insurance claims:
- Between 2005 and 2007, an average of only 7.2% of people per year filed an automobile insurance claim.
- Between 2002 and 2006, an average of only 6.15% of people per year filed a claim on their homeowner’s insurance.
We recently interviewed Mr. Farr on our YouTube video series, Swim with Jim, where he told us about adult children who love their parents and want the best for them, coming to see him for advice and counsel.
These elderly parents may not have planned and in fact, in many cases, don’t have much of an estate plan, if any.
What can worried adult children of elderly parents do?
1. Seek legal advice from a certified elder law attorney as soon as possible.
2. Determine whether long-term care insurance, life insurance with a long-term care rider, or an annuity with long-term care provisions, is appropriate and cost effective.
3. Discuss with family members the resources including care giving, residence, monies, and local government services. The local area agency on aging, usually at the county level, has a wealth of resources that might be available.
4. Ask your financial adviser for help with evaluating products that involve funding these potential solutions.
Please don’t wait until a crisis is being experienced. Plan for loved ones, especially parents. It’s February, the month of love.