Health and financial security is a prime concern to seniors. In a survey sponsored by the National Council on Aging, it was found that financial security (71% of seniors) comes ahead of staying involved with family and friends (68%), but women are even more vulnerable than men to financial matters.
The study names other worrisome factors like health care and prescription drug costs. The other two are being a burden to family and losing independence.
Individuals who help a loved one will risk losing their financial security because they quit their job or work part time to become a caregiver. They forfeit contributing to their retirement fund and saving accounts.
Family caregiving has always been the cornerstone of our healthcare system. But that segment dwindles.
In 2016, nearly 15 percent of women ages 40-44 hadn’t given birth and were childless, up from 10 percent in 1976, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A 2013 report from AARP projects that by 2040, about 21 percent of the older, disabled population will be childless.
The number of childless older people in the UK expects to double by 2030, putting huge pressure on a health and social care system that is already struggling to support the vulnerable, warned Kirsty Woodard, founder of the Ageing Well Without Children.
Older adults strapped with money insecurity now take on another challenge, paying for personal care at home.
If you’re in this situation, have you thought about how you will find help and support in the years ahead? The members in my group talk about it a lot. But it’s not just the child free individuals who worry about it, so do women with children, because many live hundreds of miles apart or have estranged relationships.
It’s a huge issue that we must address. The last thing you want to face is a medical emergency or event without a plan.
A study conducted in my Facebook group by an academic professor revealed other factors for individuals to think about and plan for:
– To identify a caregiver who would help if you became ill or disabled
– To find a trusted person to help you cope with life’s challenges like medical and financial decisions
– To have access to someone in case there’s a crisis
– To find people to socialize with you to avoid loneliness
– To mitigate your chances of developing chronic conditions
When you make a plan to tackle these issues, then you’re less confused and uncertain about handling them in the coming years.
Carol Marak is an aging advocate and editor at Seniorcare.com. She holds a Certificate in Fundamentals of Gerontology from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.