“Many baby boomers, people born between 1946 and 1964, are expected to fall so far into poverty trying to provide themselves with paid care that they will qualify for Medicaid — the medical care for the deeply impoverished.” … from an NPR special series, Family Matters.
Well that’s pretty dismal.
My husband and I fall right in the middle of the boomer timeline. We’re at our peak, career-wise, activity-wise, and probably health-wise. We’re just now getting around to actually doing things that we’ve been talking about doing for years. Fun things. Things that people better do before the odds of good physicality and mentality aren’t in their favor. It’s hard to ignore the ticking clock as key birthdays come and go faster and faster each year.
Since we’re just now getting around to the fun things we have also decided to address the elephant in the room that is our AARP eligibility status. Neither of us is a member although I have played one on TV. (I really did … I had a fleeting appearance in an AARP commercial once … best paying gig I ever had.) By addressing the elephant we acknowledged that it’s likely we’ll live long enough to need someone else to take care of us. And with that acknowledgment we decided we didn’t want that “someone else” to be either of our sons; not that they’re not great and caring human beings.
My parents had long-term care insurance before anybody ever heard of long-term care insurance. My daddy was quite the planner. He died before he ever needed the insurance, but it was there and it was a comfort to him. My mother still has hers and it’s likely she’ll need it. There’s no telling how much money they have spent over 30 years of paying the premiums. I guess I could do the math but I’d rather not.
My aunt and uncle were amused that my parents were insured for so long and they would chuckle when the topic came up in conversation over the years. My gentle aunt would quietly say, “If the day comes when I need a nursing home, Charles will just have to take me out in the yard and shoot me.” And they would all just laugh and have a good time. It was my aunt who could’ve used the insurance the most, as she, and her beleaguered family, battled her Alzeimer’s for over a decade. But she couldn’t have known that the odds were going to be against her.
So it was last year that my husband and I decided to bite the bullet and buy the insurance. It’s expensive but I’ve tried to soften the blow when the premiums are due, his quarterly, mine twice a year, by setting aside money every month. I know we’re fortunate to be able to buy the insurance; hopefully our minds and bodies will hold out for a long time and we’ll be fortunate enough to not need it too much.