A new poll from the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that millions of baby boomers are woefully unprepared for the realities that await them in old age. The poll shows that about 30% of boomers prefer not to think about getting old at all, while two-thirds of them have done almost nothing to prepare for the possibility that they might need long-term care assistance in their sunset years.
What’s even more surprising is that the poll showed that about half of those asked said that they have provided eldercare to an aging relative or loved one. Even though many baby boomers have provided care to their grandparents, parents, or other aging friends and relatives, they still maintain the belief that they won’t need care themselves.
While it’s natural to shy away from dealing with the realities of aging, this lack of preparation flies in the face of reality. Government statistics show that about 70% of elderly Americans will require elder care assistance during their lives, with the average length of assistance lasting about three years.
Further, the cost of long-term care is ever growing. It can easily cost over $90,000 a year for an elderly person to stay in a nursing home in California, and Medicare generally does not cover the expense. While Medicaid, or Medi-Cal as it is known in California, may be available to pay for nursing home expenses, only those who meet the stringent requirements can take advantage of the joint state and federally funded program. For veterans or surviving spouses of veterans, there may be benefits available through the VA to help to pay for such costs.
Elder law attorneys assist folks with such planning. It is best to work with an experienced and qualified elder law attorney to plan for long term care.