Do you know who your caregiver will be before you need one?
The AARP just announced that many Baby Boomers in New York state will need caregivers soon who won't be there. The shortage is spoken of in one state but is easily reflected throughout the nation. The legalities, financial burdens, and the future of Medicare and Social Security leave many Baby Boomers in a flux state as they are generally too young to currently need assistance but will probably need it in the next 5-10 years. Family members are usually the ones who become the caregivers but many people don't know where to start, what resources are available to them, what they legally can and can not access (medical records for one), and what paperwork needs to be presented.
Since a caregiver shortage is inevitable, the most important item on your "to-do list" for a future caregiver should be to set your paperwork in order. File your power of attorney for medical decisions. Make sure your bank accounts will either fold into a trust if your mental capacities diminish, or be payable on death to the correct person. File your mortgage papers, utilities, phone bill, doctor information, pharmacy, and any other important contacts and papers in an easy to find place. You don't want your mortgage to fall behind in payments or the power be turned off should you not be able to manage it yourself.
And why will there be a caregiver shortage in the first place? Many caregivers in America are family members who want to keep a loved one in his own home as long as possible. They go unpaid for this work and often have to manage this caregiving time with their own jobs and personal time. Today's job expectations have many people working past traditional retirement age and they don't work as in-home caregivers. So the lack of time, jobs, and qualified people to do them all combine to form a shortage of caregivers.
Without knowing exactly what the future will bring, preparing for a caregiver should be a top priority if you are over 50, have health issues that will be long-term, or want to live out your last days knowing you will be taking care of. Setting aside some money for a caregiver now will help ensure you have what you need in the future. Visit the AARP's Caregiver webpage for more information at http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/?intcmp=SKYBOX4ENG.
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