This is the last blog post for the series on the Top 10 Fears of Baby Boomers. I have enjoyed sharing this information with you and look forward to sharing next week’s post and future series.
Today, as we continue our countdown of the top 10 fears of baby boomers, we come to number 9 and 10. Number 9 is the fear that our parents won't get the care they deserve in their old age. We all want our parents to be able to live out their days in comfort and dignity, but sometimes we worry that won't be possible if we're not there to take care of them. Number 10 is the fear of leaving behind a lot of debt, especially medical bills. Nobody wants to leave their loved ones with a financial burden, but it's something that many of us worry about. In this blog post, we'll discuss these fears in more detail and offer some solutions.
Let's go in a little deeper on fear number 9.
Fear Number 9: The fear that our parents won't receive the care that they deserve once they are no longer able to care for themselves. This is a valid fear because, unfortunately, many nursing homes in the United States are understaffed and overworked. This means that your parents may not receive the care they need and deserve. However, there are some things you can do to help ensure that your parents will get the care they need.
Besides nursing homes there is also Assisted Living. This is usually for more independent living, but they may need assistance with medications or bathing. Meals are prepared and they can attend their meals with others in a dining room. Many activities are planned and have the opportunity to socialize with people their age. Assisted Living is usually private pay however if your loved one qualifies for some state community options programs, they may get assistance in paying for this type of senior living. Reach out to your Senior Resource Center or County Aging and Disability Resource Center for more information on what it takes to qualify for a community options program.
One option is to hire a private caregiver. This does come with its own pros and cons, but we will include our past blog post and video on hiring a private caregiver. Briefly the pros of hiring a private caregiver is that it is usually less expensive than going with an agency. Often times a family, friend or church member may be willing to spend some time with providing some caregiving. The downside here may be that the person may not feel comfortable doing all the tasks that are necessary such as bathing or taking someone to the bathroom.
Another concern is liability. What happens if this person gets hurt while taking care of your loved one? If you choose to go with a non-medical home care agency, they are an employee and covered under workman’s compensation if they get hurt. Another perk for using an agency is that if your caregiver gets sick or goes on vacation who will provide services? An agency would have an obligation to cover the hours.
If you choose to go with a private caregiver, make sure they are qualified, and their personality is a good fit with your family member they will be caring for. Some long-term care insurance will cover home care so ask your insurance agent to help you determine what types of services are covered under your policy.
There is one more option and that is called the Share the Care Program, it is a train the trainer program to utilize family, friends, church family members, etc. to come together to provide care for someone donating their time. Our company Your Nurse Advocate Consulting, has implemented the Share the Care program before and we are available to assist you as well if this were something you would like to try.
Another option is to move your parents closer to you so that you can keep a better eye on them and their care. This is not always possible but if it is an option for you, it may be worth considering. There are some senior communities popping up that combine family living and senior living so you can be close to your aging parents and be in the same community.
There are no easy answers when it comes to this fear but hopefully, knowing that you are not alone in this fear will help. We all want what is best for our parents and sometimes that means making some difficult decisions.
Fear Number 10: The fear of leaving behind a lot of debt especially medical bills.
The final fear on our list is the fear of leaving behind a lot of debt especially medical bills. This is another common fear among baby boomers. No one wants to leave their loved ones with a huge financial burden.
There are a few things that you can do to help ease this fear. First, try to get your finances in order before anything happens. This means creating a budget and sticking to it. You may also want to consider investing in long-term care insurance. This can help cover the costs of nursing home or assisted living care if you need it in the future.
There are many things you can do to prepare for aging and retirement. You can pre-pay for your funeral and have an irrevocable trust set up to make sure that your family is not left with funeral expenses.
Here is what you can do to address medical bill debt: -Start by evaluating your current debt and income. You can use a Debt-to-Income Ratio Calculator to help you with this. Here is one from AARP. https://bit.ly/3MPeaiS
-If your debt is manageable, create a budget and payment plan. Your family can be responsible for your debt once you are gone. Consider working with a estate planning attorney to get your finances in order and obtain the necessary advice you need to develop a plan.
-If your debt is unmanageable, contact a credit counseling agency or nonprofit organization that can help you negotiate with creditors.
You can also investigate medical bill assistance programs. These programs can help you reduce or eliminate your debt.
As board certified patient advocates addressing medical bills is one of the specialties some advocate can assist with. We work with nurse advocates that can help you negotiate and save money on the expenses and will also look for medical bill errors. Please reach out to us if you would like to learn more about what advocates are available to assist you with your medical bills.
No matter what, don't ignore your debt. This will only make the problem worse. Address your fears head on and take action to find a solution that works for you.
We hope this list has helped you understand some of the fears that baby boomers have. Remember, you are not alone in feeling these things. Talk to your family and friends about your concerns. They may be able to offer support and advice. And if you need help dealing with any of these fears, don't hesitate to seek professional help. Counseling can be a great way to work through your fears and develop a plan to cope with them.
What are some of your biggest fears? Have any of these fears been holding you back in life? Share your thoughts in the comments below! Feel free to get on our “in the know” list for upcoming blog posts, health and wellness education, navigating the health care system, and how to help and manage your aging parents at home. You can access our mailing list HERE and we will be happy to send you our free checklist on 11 Signs Your Aging Parent May Need Help in the Home”.
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Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to stop by and spend a few minutes with us. We really appreciate that! Take care, Pam and Linda Your Nurse Advocates
Resources: These posts and videos may provide more information on this topic.