Retirement. It may be the most dreaded family talk after the one about the birds and the bees. It certainly gets scant mention in the retirement ads featuring a happy couple strolling along a beach. But long-term care is the elephant in the room that can upend an otherwise meticulously crafted retirement plan.
No one wants to broach the topic of what life may be like when you or a loved one can’t live independently. But the reality is that about 70% of people over the age of 65 will need some sort of long-term care, ranging from assistance with dressing and bathing to medication management and skilled medical help. Yet aging experts say that eldercare decisions are typically made in the midst of a crisis, often by a family member.
“This is the single-most important issue to discuss with your family when planning retirement. Not having the talk could derail all the previous financial planning,” says Cyndi Hutchins, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s director of financial gerontology. “It also allows people to maintain control in their life when they may not be able to, physically or mentally.”