As more and more “Baby Boomers” find themselves in the role of caregiver to their parents, a realization is coming to pass… 20% of this group are “solo agers”. These are people who chose not to have children and find themselves aging without this traditional “safety net”.
The “Boomers” are also maintaining their active lifestyles longer, leading to the potential for denial about the realities of aging and the potential need for care. An AARP study showed that there were seven potential caregivers for every person over 80 in 2010, but that ratio is expected to drop to four to one by 2030 and three to one by 2050.
In some ways this “child free” population has had advantages. The average cost of raising a child to 18 (not counting higher education costs) is $245,000 per child. If a person was wise enough to save that money, it could have been growing to support them in their retirement years.
Other benefits of living a child free life include developing closer relationships with friends and extended family. However, being a child free senior may have its disadvantages. While not all children will care for their parents later in life, most do step in to provide some help in the event of a serious health event.
However, without this safety net, it is important that child free older people make decisions early about where they want to live later in life.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities allow residents to remain in the same community even after they require assistance with daily living routines. Many of these continuing care communities offer housing options for all possibilities. From independent living to 24/7 nursing care. Other advantages of these communities include a built in network of people to share the experiences this time in life bring; people to share interests with such as traveling and other activities that leverage group discounts.
Ultimately, the key is planning ahead. It is important to look at your potential needs through the eyes of “what if”. Do you have the resources to pay for post-acute hospital care? Can you still find affordable long term care insurance? Medicare and Medicaid will cover some but not all of these expenses. The best time to prepare for unexpected life events is before they happen. There are multiple resources out there for planning your own care. Talk to your insurance agent. Talk to your friends. Talk to one of our admissions people to learn what is and isn’t going to be covered by Medicare.
The key to aging well is aging consciously.