Understanding the Cost of Elder Care
Old age is a period in flux, altered not only by physical transformations, but changes in financial standing and social status. Fear of change is to be expected, especially in relation to income, which may explain the recent trend of later-life retirement for 21st Century senior citizens.*
Lack of consistent pay and the potential for declining health make the prospect of elder care likely, especially for those downsizing to accommodate a budget. Though the term may conjure unpleasant thoughts of hospice care, it actually encompasses senior living communities and nursing homes, making it an option for those with healthy, active lifestyles.
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The only downside is cost. Though homes and nursing services are often covered by personal insurance policies and Medicare, many can exceed $4,000 a month out of pocket, which is likely well beyond a senior’s budget for residency and utility costs.**
Another frightening factor is the lack of resources, since the senior population is constantly growing and the need for care is always on the rise. If supply and demand leads to spiking costs, it could put additional strain on a senior community with limited funds and dwindling Social Security, placing the onus on family to cover the cost. The only solution for this potentially dire situation is to budget and save well in advance of retirement, employing the money you make now as a safety net for the complications you’ll face later.
* Thayer, Colette, (July, 2016). Fantasies and Fears: Attitudes of Adults Ages 35-Plus. AARP. Retrieved September, 2019
** Anonymous, (2019). How Much Does Assisted Living and Home Care Cost in the US?. SeniorLiving.org. Retrieved September, 2019