Reality check: 80 percent of long term care is administered by unpaid caregivers, according to the National Clearing House for Long Term Care Information.
That makes unpaid caregiving a crucial topic of conversation to have with all of your clients, regardless of their age. Yet many people procrastinate when it comes to making important decisions about caring for their loved ones either short or long term. Families are often blindsided by the realities of caregiving when they are forced to leave jobs, relationships and sometimes even move across states. Simultaneously, many watch as their income and savings dwindle.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The best advisors I know ask the right questions to better understand the hats their clients wear and prepare them for the caregiving realities that lay ahead.
Here are three pieces of advice I give to the advisors so that they can get their clients primed.
1. Name names.
Start the ball rolling by asking your clients to name loved ones who might require their care.
A spouse will often top the list, but parents and in-laws are close behind. Inquire if siblings and other family members fit into the equation to offer assistance.
When my father required constant care for several years prior to his passing, my six siblings and I knew that our mother would be the primary provider. When it was her turn to require care, the answer wasn’t as simple.
No matter the age of your clients, get them talking with their own families about the expectations so that they can prepare in advance should their services be required.
If your client is already providing some form of care for a loved one, follow up with them regularly to see if their situation has changed and keep a sharp eye on their own financial goals and progress to lighten their burden.
2. Free isn’t really free.
The “free” caregiving services that families give are estimated to total $375 billion a year!
That figure appeared in Evercare Survey of the Economic Downturn and Its Impact on Family Caregiving in 2009.