James A. Froude said, "We enter the world alone, we leave the world alone." There is no feeling more horrible than the loneliness one feels in the unsettling quiet of an empty house. For many elderly, it seems that aging accompanies loneliness as children leave and spouses pass on. Though many children devote years of their lives to care for their elderly parents, others abandon them to solitude.
The United States is experiencing a remarkable increase in the number of people who live to an old age. Our older population (people 65 years or older) numbered nearly 40 million in 2009 (latest year of available data). These folks represent one in every eight Americans, or 13% of the population. By 2030, it is projected that the U.S will be home to more than 72 million people age 65 and older.
You've heard people say it and maybe you have even said it yourself. "Don’t worry Mom or Dad, I’ll take care of you in your old age."
Our council is dedicated to helping families recognize the need for long term care planning and to help implement that planning. All elderly people, regardless of current health, should plan for the myriad of financial events and challenges they might face. Social Security retirement benefits alone will not adequately help us meet these challenges; however, the program itself, how it is funded, and how the payouts work must be understood by every retiree.
According to Department of Veterans Affairs census estimates, there are approximately 13 million veterans and their single surviving spouses age 65 and older. Comparing this to a total of 41 million Americans 65 and older, veterans and their single surviving spouses represent about 1/3 of the senior population. According to VA about 42% of all veterans are 65 and older. This percentage will continue to grow as the bulk of the Vietnam veterans - the largest cohort - are still younger than age 65.
The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy states that "more than ever before, families are providing long-term care to older adults with limitations in the ability to perform tasks necessary for independent living. Nearly 25% of American households are providing care to people age 50 years and over. Families are the alternative foundation for a stressed healthcare system. Hospital stays are shorter than ever and family caregivers are often expected to do what healthcare professionals once did."
Seniors are the fastest growing segment of the population, not only in the United States, but in the world. Currently, individuals age 65 and over represent 13% of the U. S. population – about 41 million people– but this will grow to 20% -- 88 million -- in just a matter of 38 years. Seniors also control a great deal of the wealth in this country.
At some point in our lives we may ask ourselves: If I die and have debt, who or what will be responsible for paying back those I owe?
They live in your city, perhaps on your street or even next door. They serve with courage, perseverance, patience and love. Some give 24 hours a day, with days blending into weeks, months and years. They are family caregivers; heroes quietly caring for loved ones at home.
An article in USA Today reports that on a given night, more than 75,000 veterans (male and female) are living homeless on the streets of their cities.
The month of September brings a welcome relief from the hot summer days. Cool breezes and colorful foliage appearing on the trees entice one to walk and bask in healthy fresh air.
Over the years, we have found that educating seniors who are veterans or single surviving spouses about their benefits has proven to be a very effective and low-cost method for acquiring new clients or customers. For those of you working in the senior market, this is a great method to get you in front of individuals or families needing your expertise or services.
With the hot summer heat upon most of the nation and temperatures topping 100 degrees, dehydration and heat exhaustion are a high danger for the elderly. Illnesses relating to aging, medication and the body’s aging process cause a quicker reaction to the heat than someone younger.
Since the downturn of the economy, costs for health care have been on the rise. According to a 2011 market survey of long-term care costs, the national average daily rate for a private room in a nursing home rose 4.4% last year from $229 in 2010 to $239 in 2011. Similarly, the national average monthly base rate in an assisted living community rose 5.6% from $3,293 in 2010 to $3,477 in 2011.
A new population of seniors and those nearing the senior status are looking for some type of financial means to pay for long term care (eldercare) in case of failing health. Many have taken care of family members who had no means to pay for their care or have seen their parents entire retirement savings wiped out because of medical and nursing home costs.
For many seniors the equity in their home is their largest single asset, yet it is unavailable to use unless they use a home equity loan. But a conventional loan really doesn't free up the equity because the money has to be paid back with interest.
Today, as adults, the children who received the councsel and wisdom of their parents are facing a reverse situation in their lives. They are finding themselves concerned about their aging parents and what their needs will be as their health and mental abilities fail them. In some cases the children must take the role as parent in securing the safety and well being of an elderly family member.
A recent USA Today article states that there is an increase in seniors living over the age of 90. According to author Haya El Nasser The number of people living to age 90 and beyond has tripled in the past three decades to almost 2 million and is likely to quadruple by 2050.
Caregivers often do not recognize when they are in over their heads, and often get to a breaking point. After a prolonged period of time, caregiving can become too difficult to endure any longer. Short-term the caregiver can handle it. Long-term, help is needed. Outside help at this point is needed.
This month of November 2011, as individuals, we can take note of those around us, in our families and community, who are family caregivers. A note of acknowledgement of their service, a gift of thanks or even an offering of our time to give them a needed break would let them know their service is recognized and appreciated.