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No Kids? You Need a Plan for Aging

Choosing an assisted living facility can be frightening prospect for anyone.  However, the fear can be greater for people with no kids to help them through the process.

When you don’t have kids or close family members, making decisions about an assisted living facility can be lonely and daunting, often leading people to delay planning. For many people, says Financial Planning in a recent article “Planning challenge: aging clients, no kids, assisted living required,” just the thought of moving into an assisted living facility, means they are entering a dark tunnel or, as some say, heading into God’s waiting room.

The challenge is often the same for people whose adult children live far away or those who are not involved with their family. In coming decades, more Americans will find themselves in a similar situation, according to a 2013 study by AARP’s Public Policy Institute.

While most elderly people receive some care from family members, the number of those who are able and willing to help, is not likely to keep pace with increasing demand, the study said.

In 2010, the caregiver support ratio was more than seven potential caregivers for each person in the high-risk years of 80 and up. But by 2030, this ratio is projected to drop to 4 to 1, and will fall even further in 2050, when the last group of baby boomers enters the later years of life.

What can be done?

Start planning early, as early as 65. The earlier you begin examining options for assisted living, visiting facilities and getting to know what you want and don’t want, the better you’ll be able to decide, when the time comes.

Have your estate plan in place. Many facilities require potential residents to be able to demonstrate that their estate plan is done, and all their documents are in order.

What amenities do you want to live near? For some people, being able to visit museums and cultural offerings is an important part of their lifestyle. Others require being closer to established healthcare facilities. Know what matters now and what will matter 10 years from now.

Meet the people who work at the facility. Don’t just talk to the sales staff. Talk to the people in the residence, those who work in the cafeterias, etc. The sales staff will paint one picture.  However, those who work there, are the people you will be dealing with on a daily basis.

Consider buying in before you move in. If the facility has a long waiting list, it may make sense for you to preserve a spot on the waiting list for when you have to move in. Make sure to do all your financial diligence to be sure the deposit is refundable and to be guaranteed to be returned.

Think positive. Having kids can be a double-edged sword. It’s great to have family.  However, with no kids, you are free to go where you wish, with no kids doing battle over where or how Mom or Dad should live.

Reference: Financial Planning (Aug. 8, 2018) “Planning challenge: aging clients, no kids, assisted living required”

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