If you talk with residents of senior living communities about why they made the decision to move, you’ll get a variety of answers. But you’ll also find a common thread in those conversations – family. In one way or another, how their future would impact family members was a key factor in the decision-making process.
A survey by Age Wave and Genworth found the top three reasons people decided to plan for their long-term care are:
- Not wanting to be a burden to others, especially a financial burden
- Being the ones to make the decision about where to get affordable, quality care
- Protecting their spouse’s or loved one’s quality of life and future security
Easing the burden of family caregiving.
When asked who’ll take care of them if they need care as they age, many people assume a family member will do so. A survey by The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement found 66% of respondents said they want a family member to be their primary caregiver.
Each year, more than 34 million Americans provide unpaid care to an adult over age 50. And while most say caring for an aging parent can be a positive experience, caregiving takes a toll on them, both financially and emotionally.
- 78% of caregivers incur out-of-pocket expenses as a result of caregiving. The average annual cost: around $7,000.
- Family caregivers spend an average of 24.4 hours per week providing care. Nearly 25% of caregivers spend 41 or more hours per week.
- 60% of spouses spend 30+ hours per week caring for their loved one.
- 60% of caregivers have to make workplace accommodations such as cutting back on hours or taking a leave of absence.
- The average lifetime loss of wages and benefits for a woman dropping out of the workforce to provide care is more than $300,000.
- The emotional and physical strain on caregivers can impact their overall health. Family caregivers can be at a higher risk of depression, chronic illness, exhaustion and burnout.
Making decisions about your future so they don’t have to.
The Age Wave/Genworth survey found people want to be able to afford quality care in a setting they choose. Yet it’s common to avoid or put off a care plan discussion until a health emergency forces the issue. A sudden illness or injury means the family needs to find appropriate long-term care right away – often without a full understanding of what options are available or how it can be paid for.
A senior living community allows you to be in charge of those decisions before they need to be made – and takes that responsibility off your family. You’ll know exactly where you’ll receive care, which is quite often on the campus where you live. You’ll also know how much that care will cost. In a community with a Life Care contract, for example, your entrance fee and set monthly fees cover the bulk of the cost of care in the health center, and the cost won’t go up significantly if you need a higher level of care.
By choosing senior living, you stay in charge of your future and your finances – which means your family doesn’t have to worry about what will happen to you down the road.
Providing for your spouse’s or partner’s future.
Another reason couples choose senior living is so their loved one will have the care, community and quality of life they need, both now and in the future. When asked, many residents will tell you things like:
- “I didn’t want her to be alone if anything happened to me.”
- “What if he ends up needing extra help? I don’t think I could take care of him by myself.”
- “I saw how happy my parents were in a community, and I wanted that for both of us, too.”
A survey by A Place For Mom showed that 73% of family members said their older loved one’s quality of life improved after moving to an assisted living community. And 70% of the seniors who moved said the same thing. Factors that contribute to an improved quality of life include social connections, wellness opportunities, good nutrition and intellectual stimulation – all of which are part of the lifestyle at a senior living community.
As you continue your exploration of senior living and how it can impact your life, bring your family into the discussion. Because it’s not just your future – it’s theirs, too.
If you’re curious about senior living communities near you or your family, use the Community Locator Tool to start exploring your options.
- Americans Speak on Long-Term Care and Alzheimer’s Disease. The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement and The Bipartisan Policy Center, 2017.
- Our Family, Our Future: The Heart of Long Term Care Planning, Age Wave/Genworth, 2010.
- Caregiving in the U.S., 2015 (National Alliance for Caregiving; AARP).
- Family Caregiving and Out-of-Pocket Costs: 2016 Report (AARP).
- Understanding the Impact of Family Caregiving and Work, 2012 (AARP Policy Institute).
- National Center on Caregiving.
- 2016 Family Quality of Life Survey, A Place For Mom.