Planning for the elder years is almost surreal. It’s like revisiting the teenage hood – not really understanding the magnitude of what lies ahead. So how can we reasonbably wrap our heads around the notion of “growing old?”
And what do we generally fear the most?
Health Care affordability?
Losing your home to medical bills?
Watching the mental and physical decline of your spouse?
Perhaps all of the above?
Let me illustrate a true story…
A husband and wife, both in their 80’s, have 8 children and are all currently living a medical, financial and emotional nightmare. Events as follows:
- Wife has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, has moderate dementia and continues to fall frequently due to her Parkinson’s.
- Wife falls , ends up in the hospital, then to acute rehab, followed up by her husband’s much awaited moment when she returns home.
- Once home, her husband regrettably and sadly realizes that he can no longer take care of her.
- Off to a nursing home at which point he is told that due to his wife’s frequent falls, she must have an aide in addition to her nursing home care. They don’t want the liability! P.S… This now costs them 15-20K per month for her medical care.
So, as you can imagine, the husband is devastated emotionally and is terrified of losing all his life’s savings. Their Elder Law attorney has been working with this family to help them navigate through this grueling process. This elderly gentlemen just cannot understand why he is now in this posistion. He has worked hard his entire adulthood in order to create a comfortable nest egg for himself and his family. So now what? In 4 years, he could be TOTALLY wiped out except for what the government allows him to keep for himself. His children are there as a support system to pilot their way through this challenge. However, the frustration sets in for the children as the parents have difficulty grasping concepts of what needs to be done.
On a personal note, my heart is just breaking for this family. As a baby boomer, I know it scares the daylights out of me to think that this is possible for any one of us. What does our future hold for us?
So let’ s just review the stats:
- There are 40 million seniors (65+) in this country
- Of the 78 million baby boomers, 10,000 are turning 65 every day and will for the next 19 years
So my question is the same as the husband in this story, What now? How do we protect ourselves from a potential financial wipe out?
Please share some of your stories and comments.