The High Cost of Age

scarlett2001July 29, 2008

My parents have reached a point at which they can no longer live on their own. My sister, brother and I have all offered our homes to them, but we all live out of state and the folks would prefer not to leave their friends and church and familiar surroundings and go to a strange place at this stage of life.

So that leaves either round the clock care in their own home- which we did set up at $7,200 a month (that is three people coming in for 8 hours each at $10 an hour.)

The alternative is an assisted living home which would charge about $6000 EACH parent a month. Luckily, they have enough for about 5 years, and the three of us will kick in as necessary.

I just wonder with all the Baby Boomers and people living longer, what is going to happen when we get old? Where is the money going to come from?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I haven't posted here before (always read). I've asked myself the same question. I have no children and no family at all and am on disability with no savings.

I guess I don't even think about what will happen (I'm 61).
It's scary, and you're right, for the Boomer generation, there is little or nothing there for later, especially with today's price increases.

I'll be interested in seeing what others have to say.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 2:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

This willvary for many, but I suspect that many will have to swallow their pride and do things the old-fashioned way and allow their children to care for them, if they have them and they cannot have everything the way they would like.

I know that necessity will be forcing hands in our family. My mother is only 50, but I fully expect that someday she will be living with us. So far, all she has is Social Security and that is not likely to change. My grandmother has a pension that covers her living expenses even though she has no other assets. I do not anticipate many problems with my mother though, she understands her situation and will be grateful for any help that comes her way.

Dh's parents will be another story. Their house is paid for but they spend, spend, spend, spend. They do not understand how precarious their situation could be. If my FIL moved in, things would still be peaceful, however I am concerned about what would happen if he goes first. When I tried to inquire about them having long-term care isurance, they said they did not have it, that is what they have kids for. I explained to them this would mean moving here (Dh has a state job and will not be leaving it for another 22 years when he can retire). We could build a casita on our land for them but they still need money to cover nursing care because there are some things I cannot do.

All in all, I think that is a potentially very scary situation for many. I hope that my generation wakes up to be better prepared for themselves.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 11:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My dad passed away in 1989 at the age of 74. My mom was 65 at the time and had already had multiple sclerosis for 35 years. Mom needed help for many of her daily functions. Initially, my 2 sisters and I went with 24 hr care for my mom, in the family home, for 1 year. During that year, whenever any of the caregivers called in sick, we were up a creek as 2 of the 3 of us lived out of state and the 1 of us who was local worked full time and was married. After that year, we worked with my mom and she went into a nursing home (in 1990).

Mom was a private pay patient and used the funds that my dad left. The money lasted for about 11 years. When it ran out, she went onto Medicaid for the remaining 5-6 years of her life. Nothing changed for my mom at the nursing home with the switch in funding.

If something happens to my husband or me, I expect that will be exactly what happens with us. We don't have kids so we expect that our personal money will be used up first and then we hope that the government will be there for us. We've made a conscious decision not to buy long term care insurance and instead have saved like crazy people. I can only hope that we're making the right bet.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 2:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It is cheaper to have someone live in rather then hire three people to work around the clock. Can they be alone for short periods of time? You can also hire someone to fill in when the live in person is off.

My aunt had someone live in and she lived in Rockville Maryland. It was MUCH less then 7 thousand a month. She hired her through an agency.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 11:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It really pains me to see my parents in the care of strangers and we are all so far away. You wonder what is happening and are they really getting the care you hope for. But still, it is important to them to stay in their own home for as long as possible, so for now, that is the situation.

They tell us that in the future we will all live "much longer", like that is a piece of great news. I sure don't want to. The Earth is so overpopulated now, what will happen if we do all live to 110?

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 1:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There have been several discussions on this subject, mostly involving LTC insurance, in the Household Finance forum. It's a topic always good for a lively debate, that's for certain. If you do a search on "LTC insurance" I'm sure you'll pull up several threads.

The Earth may be overpopulated in total, but most of the headcount growth is in Third World countries. Virtually every Western nation has a declining birthrate, including the US. It's interesting for me, as a third-generation Asian American whose grandparents came in the late 1800's, to see how even recent Asian immigrants who are second-generation begin having fewer children than their parents and grandparents did. My DH's family is Catholic Portugese/Chinese - he came over here at the age of 12. The parents both came from large families of 8-10 kids. Without exception his cousins have 2-4 kids at most, and at least one-third have no children at all. This would be unheard of, if they had stayed in Hong Kong.

We also chose not to have children. Therefore, we purchased LTC insurance in our late 40's, when it was easily obtained and affordable. It will not cover 100% of nursing or home service care - that would be almost impossible, with costs rising as fast as they are - but it will cover a major percentage of any costs we incur.

It is generally accepted amongst financial planners that if you have a sufficiently large estate of at least $2M+, you can self-insure and do not need to buy LTC insurance. We preferred to mitigate the risk of draining assets should anything happen to one of us, and therefore we purchased our policies.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 11:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I feel bad for people who don't have the means to prepare for their retirement/aging. My Grandma is wanting to get into a retirement home, but doesn't have enough money to get into the one she wants. I just graduated college and can't help with my $100k+ in school loans. My brother can just barely support his own family. My sister has some money she is willing to pitch in, God bless her, and my mom may too. Otherwise, Gma is going to live with my mom, which is certainly not optimal. It's far away from all of Gma's friends (she can't drive any more), Mom's house would have to be modified greatly because Gma already has trouble up and down stairs and it's a 3 level townhome; more modifications would be necessary if she became wheelchair-bound. Gma will most likely go insane (and I am not exaggerating) being basically shut in while Mom is at work, even with the company of Mom's dog. Long term care insurance wouldn't help her at this point because she doesn't NEED any care- she just needs a safe and relatively active place to live where she can continue to socialize to keep her mind sharp.

What's the answer? I don't know. Gma's boyfriend got into the retirement home by selling his house and by his kids pitching in, plus he has stocks that pay dividends and social security. Gma had already sold her home and was living off those profits for the last couple of years- she does have some stocks and of course SS, but she can either afford the buy in OR the monthly fees, but not both, and you need to afford both. Obviously, it's too late for Gma to do anything- she can't work, and her assets are what they are. Dh and I are trying to save up enough so this doesn't happen to us, but if we end up helping out my Gma or my mom or his parents, that reduces what we have to save for ourselves.

My plan is to drop dead at work when I'm 85. It's not a good plan :(

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 5:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a sad family situation. FIL died of cancer in 1990, MIL always had their mildly retarded daughter living with them and she stayed on with MIL after FIL died. Then in 2004 MIL got sick with an infection, she had to be hospitalized and had a massive heart attack and died. She was fortunate, in some ways, she never got cancer (which took both her husband and sister) and she never had to leave her home. But her daughter is another story. She floundered around after her mom died, She never learned to take care of herself, cook, shop, make medical appointments, do taxes, none of the "adult" things one must do. She was totally lost when MIL died. It was like she had lost her spouse, the person she lived with and relied on. Her two siblings, a sister and brother (my husband) encouraged her as much as possible,sold the family home, divided the proceeds fairly , found her an apartment to live in, and handled the details of MIL's estate, probate and such. Now SIL is very unhappy, hates her apartment, hates her job, hates her life. She was never prepared for "life". The reason-MIL wanted someone to care for her in her old age, but she passed away. So sad. I have two daughters living at home, 18 and 19, but I make them do everything for themselves. We love them and hope they'll "fly away" when the time is right.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 10:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Have any of you heard of Long Term Care Insurance - It provides benefits for home care, intermediate care and full blown nursing home coverages..........

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 10:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

nylben, if you had read my earlier posting, I suggested going to the Household Finance forum and doing a search on LTC insurance. It is a complex subject and must be thoroughly researched for someone to determine whether they should buy it or not.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 11:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As far as my grandma is concerned, LTC insurance is useless at this stage. She doesn't need any care- she can take care of herself relatively well, but she can't drive any more. She was having panic attacks and would get very confused. Which means getting to the doctor, grocery store, etc. was becoming increasingly difficult as she had to depend on others to drive her around. Besides that, she maintains her apartment and everything on her own, so even though she has LTC insurance, it doesn't help her.

The good news is, she did find a retirement home that she loves and can afford, so she will be moving in soon. I hate the fact that she is split up from her boyfriend who could afford the more expensive home, but she is safe, they have everything she needs on campus, and if she needs to go off campus they will provide transportation. But the most important thing is that she can socialize and participate in the activities offered. Gma was going to go bonkers living on her own, without being able to drive basically as a shut-in, although she does get regular visitors it's not the same as going to the movies or going to dinner out and the like. So now she can do that kind of thing whenever she wants, and she is safe (as are the roads).

If/when she becomes unable to care for herself, the retirement home has assisted living facilities and then her LTC insurance will kick in those costs.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 11:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm 78 years old and liveing in a senior cit.apart.I take each day as it comes.Thank God I have a pension and ss.checks comeing in each month.Thank God I'm poor so I get my meds. almost free.I have never been so happy my life is great.The only thing I regret I took in a kitten and she is a cat from hell.Go to church put your trust in God .If HE let us live to be old He will see that are needs are met,

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 7:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My MIL is still living in the family home - won't give it up when she really should. That's what is sad is when someone holds on to their house way past when they can take care of it. She does have LTC insurance and life insurance, and has pre-arranged her funeral & pre-paid after my FIL died. She doesn't need a nursing home, it's just hard for her to keep up with the house maintainence and would be better in a condo. My parents are very healthy in their mid-70s but don't have any LTC or life insurance, won't even talk about their final wishes, and act like they are going to live forever. I've tried to have an "adult" conversation with them on these topics but they refuse.

My brother & his wife don't have kids & have a 5 BR, 3,000 sq ft house but I'm sure woulnd't take my parents in if they need care. I would be more than willing to take them in, but have a 1,400 sq ft house with 3 young kids that will be here 10 more years. I guesss they could all 3 share one bedroom, DH and I could have the other upstairs BR and my parents could have the downstairs BR. There is always a way when there is a need!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 6:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My mom took in my grandmother when I was young and we LOVED having her. It gave me a great appreciation how valuable it is for younger children to experience living with the elderly.

I have several coworkers who have their moms (and dads) living with them. Two neighbors have built master suites onto their homes for their inlaws. Unless there are no other choice, this could be the way to go. Sell the family home to pay for the addition and if anything is left over, save for future medical expenses.

No one wants to leave their home to be taken care of by strangers. Frankly, I like the idea of extended families, especially with the economy we have. A social security check only goes so far to cover the expenses of maintaining a home.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 12:33PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
reusable cloth grocery bags/ save money or not?
I decided to buy some reusable cloth grocery bags from...
Barcode on the envelope?
I used a envelope which has barcode on it to send a...
Food preserving
We all know vacuum packing food preserves it without...
Curt D'Onofrio
How to Retire 35 Years Early
Wall Street Journal's Market Watch did a feature on...
I would like to start checking out coupons to save...
alameda/zone 8
Sponsored Products
Greek Key Storm Giclee Glow 20" Wide Pendant Light
Lamps Plus
Kismet Wrapped Canvas
$54.99 | zulily
A & E Hampton Bookcase - White - HAMP3636
$559.98 | Hayneedle
Chintaly Teresa Dining Table with Glass Top - CTY1300
$653.84 | Hayneedle
La Vista Rug 8' x 10' - LIGHT GREY
$4,699.00 | Horchow
Punched Metal Baroque Cylinder Lamp
Cost Plus World Market
Colton 24 1/2" High 2-Light Old Bronze Wall Sconce
Lamps Plus
Ripple Runner 2'3" x 8' - PUMPKIN
$239.00 | Horchow
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™