I noticed that my father was beginning to falter when he made repeated excuses for why I couldn’t visit him at his apartment. One day, while we were sitting at the pool of his apartment complex, I made up an excuse for needing his keys so that I could retrieve something I had left in his car. Instead I peeked into his apartment where I saw that mail was piled up, high, and his apartment was in disarray—two classic beginning signs of dementia.
Instead of enjoying an afternoon at the pool, we had a very frank discussion about how we were going to help him regain control of his household chores. This eventually led to investigating alternative housing solutions. Within months, he took a bad fall and needed to move into assisted living.
I Encouraged Him To Set Up A Long-Term Care Insurance Policy.
Because I work with products and services for older Americans, I had encouraged him to set up a long-term care insurance policy several years before. In checking into his policy, fortunately, it did indeed cover almost all of his expenses at the assisted living facility where he had moved. The length of his policy was four years; he died six months before it expired. I felt enormously guilty for what had happened to him. But I cannot fathom what it would have been like if I also had to worry about paying for his living expenses.
My siblings and I were lucky. Only 10% of aging adults have the means and the wherewithal to set up a long-term care policy. It was only because I knew something about it that we were able to weather this storm. For details on how people are coping with financing senior living for their aging relatives, read this post at American Society on Aging.
A common misconception about long-term care is that Medicare pays for this. Medicare only takes care of medical expenses, not living expenses. Senior housing is needed by 100% of our older population, not 10%. This is a discussion that we all should have with our parents and grandparents, as well as our siblings. It ties directly to the location and type of housing, as well as the quality of life, that they will have in their later years.
Why Rob Lowe Went Public on The Importance of Long-Term Care.
Actor Rob Lowe was recently interviewed on AOL. He said, “As a father and a son… part of a member of a family Is figuring out how to take care of your parents when that time comes, how to take care of yourself when that time comes… For my Dad and my wife’s Mother, we’re able to write that check every month to care them, but most Americans can’t.”
A few very relevant facts:
- 70% of Americans are going to need long-term care.
- 10,000 American baby boomers are turning 65 every day – for the next 20 years.
- Only 7.4 million Americans are covered by long-term care out of the 115 million Americans between 40 and 75.
- It’s one of the least-bought forms of insurance and Genworth Financial is a leader.
SGD Focuses on Senior Living.
Since one of our focuses at SGD Advertising is senior living, we will be tracking the evolution of funding mechanisms for senior housing. Although this is a public policy issue, it also ties directly into the marketing efforts of assisting living communities who are generating leads for new potential residents.
SGD is the Bay Area advertising, marketing and branding agency specializing in seniors and boomers. We’ve repositioned, rebranded and relaunched senior living communities in California, Kentucky, Maryland and Virginia attaining an occupancy rate of 90% or more in very competitive markets, despite recessionary times.
About the Author: Duff Reiter is an Account Director / Planner at SGD Advertising specializing in senior / boomer, healthcare, lifestyle, financial, travel / leisure and technology brands since 1984.