I am about escapism whenever possible. The last thing I want to do in those moments when I’m not preoccupied with some aspect of my mom’s at-home care is to read the latest Alzheimer research study or listen to another pitch on why I should buy long-term health care insurance. When it’s time to zone out, give me my Candy Crush game and access to Facebook, and I’m usually a pretty happy camper.
That’s exactly what I was doing the other night -- happily scrolling through my Facebook feed -- when my restful mood was broken by one of those sometimes interesting but usually annoying “Sponsored” posts. I usually breeze through them, but this time I stopped. I couldn’t help myself. The headline was “You Might Be on the Hook for Your Parents’ Nursing Home Costs.”
Whoever wrote the headline was brilliant. Is there ANYONE over age 30 who WOULDN’T stop to read something like this? So of course I had to click on the post.
Once I came across the first reference to “public policy” I knew I was going to be challenged to stay awake long enough to read the article (seeing as I was reading it at 10 p.m.) let alone actually comprehend it.
But I kinda, sorta did. I won’t bore you with all the details. Here’s the link for you to read it yourself:
The article made me mad. Two things really made me mad:
*That some dusty, semi-archaic law called a “filial law” could legally impose nursing home and other elderly care costs onto family members, namely children.
*That the author thought this was a good idea!
There are stats out there on literally the thousands of dollars in caregiving services that family members provide their elderly loved ones, just by physically taking care of them. This does not include the thousands of dollars spent on actual services. This does not include the emotional and mental supports that family members provide, which of course cannot be assigned a dollar amount.
According to the writer, families just need to save more in order to be prepared as they and their loved ones age – or suffer the consequences.
I cannot even go there. I am just thankful that there are others out there who are taking a more realistic – not to mention – compassionate view.
We’ve all listened to the financial planner admonitions: You need to have a million gazillion dollars in retirement savings, a million gazillion dollars in long-term health care policies, a million gazillion dollars in health insurance coverage…. Luckily my financial planner (a top-rated, nationally known leader in the field) “gets” that meeting the expenses of nursing home or any other long-term care is not just a matter of buckling down and saving a few more dollars. It is a mega issue that is going to have to be addressed.
It's a good thing that there are people out there willing to look at this very tough issue, even the misguided (my opinion) writer of the Forbes piece. I look forward to seeing what develops.
But in the meantime, for just a little awhile at least, I think I’ll just go back to playing Candy Crush.