More and more these days, couples who are planning toward their own retirement are having to face their parents’ immediate long term care needs (whether because of stroke, dementia, or some other serious health condition). When these couples look into financing the care their parents need, too often they realize that the care required is rather expensive and the question of how to pay for that care becomes an issue not only for their aging parents, but for the couple hoping to retire soon too.
Oftentimes, the couple looking to retire contemplates whether it would be more financially advantageous to continue to work and pay for a third-party outside caregiver or to retire early and take on the care-giving role themselves. Regardless of what side of the fence you fall, the most important thing to remember is that you (the couple looking forward to retirement) should never entirely sacrifice your own future financial stability to support your parents’ long term care needs. If you do so, you may end up leaving your children in the same situation you currently find yourselves.
First and foremost, before taking it upon yourselves to privately pay for your aging parents’ long term care needs, look to your community and find out whether there are any government benefits or programs available to assist your parents with their physical, emotional and financial needs. I also highly recommend your contacting an experienced elder law attorney in your area who focuses a portion of his/her practice on long term care planning specifically. In doing so, you may find out about a little known veterans benefit called the Improved Pension “Aid & Attendance” benefit about which most people and organizations in the community are unaware. When determining how best to meet your own needs as well as those of your aging parents, make sure you don’t leave one stone unturned, as it could lead to a lost opportunity in the long run and cost you your retirement savings.
For more information regarding the Improved Pension “Aid & Attendance” benefit, please read our webpage.
For a more thorough discussion of alternatives to weigh in deciding whether to continue working or retire early to care for a loved one, go to this article.