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Long-term care planning should begin shortly

Families can face serious personal and financial consequences by not preparing for the care of their relatives as they age. They should begin long term planning to help deal with the rising cost of this care and other problems.

Spouses and children who do not plan face the risk of burnout. Almost half of caregivers report that their health and well-being suffered.

If parents do not have Medicare, caregivers will have to pay more for escalating costs. Data indicates that 63 percent of caregivers paid for care from their savings or retirement funds. Slightly over 40 percent ended up saving less money.

Women, who make up two out of three caregivers, bear a disproportionate share of these consequences. A daughter or daughter-in-law is the typical caregiver. A Merrill Lynch study found that 47 percent of adults that are 40 to 59-years-old are also raising children in addition to providing care to older relatives.

Without a long-term plan, family members can grow to resent each other if certain children carry more of the responsibilities for care. This is especially true where there are children who live in a distant part of the country and are not close enough to assist with the care of their parents.

Waiting may also restrict the ability to find a place in a long-term care facility. Most nursing facilities are not even keeping waiting lists for Medicaid because these have become too long.

Without a long-term plan, family members can grow to resent each other if certain children carry more of the responsibilities for care. This is especially true where there are children who live in a distant part of the country and are not close enough to assist with the care of their parents.

Planning should not wait until parents suffer memory loss or another incapacity, family members feel overwhelmed or exhausted or the cost of care depletes their assets. An attorney can help people plan for the day they need long-term nursing home care and deal with other medical expenses. Lawyers can discuss options and prepare important documents such as a power of attorney.

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