Top 5 Things to Know About Aging
Aging with independence and dignity is the goal for most older adults. More than 70 percent of people over 65 will need long-term care and nearly 100 percent of those will be cared for at some point in time by a loved one. Millions of people around the world provide assistance to a spouse, parent, relative, friend or neighbor. It’s better to prepare today for what tomorrow may bring. Here are the top 5 things to know about aging as described by the SCAN Foundation.
- You are not alone. There are millions and millions of people around the world aiding a spouse, parent, relative, or even a neighbor. And, every day for the next 15 years, thousands more baby boomers will turn 65. As individuals grow older, they are more likely to need assistance that will enable them to live with dignity and independence in their homes and communities. The implications of this change are being felt in families and communities across the nation. Start preparing today by talking with your family about what aging with dignity means to you, and ask for help if you need it.
- Different People Need Different Kinds of Support. Older people with health conditions and difficulties with daily activities have a variety of needs such as preparing meals, getting in and out of bed, getting dressed or going to the bathroom, and running errands like going to the grocery store or the doctor. All of these routine activities that we often take for granted as part of our everyday lives are vital to allowing individuals to age with dignity and independence. To help devise a plan that works for you and your loved ones there is a broad network of support that can provide information, counseling, and even free services.
3. Family Support – Counts. Family caregivers make up the backbone of support to older adults. There are usually three different ways that families can help an older loved one get the support they need. The first is physical or hands-on care, such as direct help with life’s daily activities. Second, families provide a substantial amount of financial support, from helping a loved one manage their money to directly paying for physical care. Third, families provide a great deal of emotional support to their loved one, especially as health issues become more complicated. Whether you are providing one of these types of support or all three, a little bit of care from family can go a long way towards helping loved ones stay in their homes and communities as their abilities change.
4. Long-term care is expensive. Paying for daily support services can add up. The average cost of having a part-time aide come to your home can be more than $25,000 per year, and the average cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home or assisted living facility can be over $100,000. Such high costs are often unaffordable for the majority of the nation’s middle-class families.
5. Medicare doesn’t pay. Many people mistakenly believe that Medicare will pay for long-term services and supports. The reality is that Medicare only pays for short-term rehabilitative care. After age 65, most people will require assistance at some point in their lives for an average of three years. You may need to pay out of pocket and spend all of your assets to qualify for help through Medicaid, a medical assistance program funded through state and federal dollars.
Getting old isn’t easy and it certainly isn’t cheap. So the more prepared you and your family are, the less stress for everyone. To find out the other top 5 –including Spanish versions, visit The Scan Foundation.
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