(NAPSI)-The good news is that nearly 70 percent of boomer women are talking with their parents about how they will live independently as they get older; the bad news is only 40 percent of families are actually planning for it.
A recent AARP study focused on women and their role as caregivers, especially as it relates to their relationship with aging parents. That’s because women play an instrumental role in family caregiving decisions, and boomer women contribute significantly to the care of family and friends.
The typical caregiver is a woman, 46 years old, juggling family, work, and caregiving. An AARP study shows that an overwhelming 68 percent of boomer women think their parents are financially prepared for any assistance they may need. Past research by AARP shows that people often underestimate the costs of long-term care and often think they are covered by Medicare when generally that is not the case.
“The vacuum of knowledge around this topic is dangerous,” says Jennie Chin Hansen, AARP Board Member. “It’s dangerous for aging parents who may be forced into a situation they don’t want, and it’s dangerous for their adult children who may not have the resources to care for their parents. The key is to plan early.”
Perhaps the most important thing for adult children and their parents to realize is that it’s up to them to plan for the future they want. It starts by brainstorming and doing research about what resources exist to help people age with dignity.
What comes next should be a family conversation, with all parties discussing their needs, abilities, and willingness to compromise. In addition, important documents – wills, insurance information, safety deposit box and bank account numbers – should be gathered in a safe place, where family members can access them as part of the decision-making process.
Unfortunately, decisions about long-term care are usually made during a health crisis and with no plan in place. Make sure that you have a plan and that your family is aware of your preferences. “Someone will decide where you spend the rest of your life,” concludes Hansen. “Make sure it’s you.”
For more information about caregiving and planning for long-term care, go to aarp.org/caregiving.