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Why Proactive Planning for Future Care is so Important for Older Adults

Why Proactive Planning for Future Care is so Important for Older Adults

Do you remember playing hide-and-go-seek as a child? If you do, you might also recall the common phrase the seeker would shout out to the hiders as they concluded their countdown, "Ready or not....here I come!" This announcement was to warn the other players that if they hadn't used their time wisely to find a good hiding spot, they were now out of time.

Perhaps it's not the perfect analogy, but a "ready or not," warning is calling out to older adults in America. But this time, it isn't a child's game with minimal consequence if you are caught. This warning is about the high likelihood of needing additional support for daily tasks in time. When caught in this circumstance, those who navigate the experience with greater success are those who considered this likelihood long before it catches them. Here are our top reasons why older adults need to make a plan for future care.

1. Ready or not, future care is highly probable.

The statistics shared by the Texas Health and Human Services department, suggest nearly 70% of older adults will need Long-term Care at some point in their aging story. This shouldn't come as a huge surprise when you consider that with age comes a higher likelihood of health conditions. For example, according to the 2023 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report put out by the Alzheimer's Association, only 5% of seniors ages 65 to 74 have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's Disease. However, the percentage leaps to 13.1% for those 75-84, and jumps again to an astounding 33.3% at age 85+. Other health conditions are notably more likely to become increasingly complex as aging progresses like heart conditions or osteoporosis. Meanwhile, there are other health concerns that surface following a fall or series of falls. Falling can be one of the most devastating experiences for older adults. While recovery is possible for some, others find that they are not able to regain the same level of independence they once knew. Whether it is their balance, strength, or even confidence that is lacking, it is a situation many struggle to bounce back from, often prompting a need for care. Seniors who wish to consider their future with a proactive mindset should plan as though they WILL have health concerns down the road, and that there WILL be falls in their future. Plan for the worst, and hope for the best. Otherwise, you may be caught without a plan altogether.

2. Ready or not, accessing care in the highest quality communities may become more difficult in the near future.

According to Nielsberg Research, there were over 3.6 million seniors over the age of 65 in Texas in 2023. However, the number that sends shockwaves through the senior living industry is not how many seniors there are today, it is how many there will be soon. In 2050 the projected growth within this demographic will swell to a staggering 9.4 million. The healthcare industry has already been strained in a multitude of ways, but the pressure will be squarely placed on the shoulders of senior living communities as the demand grows and the supply is struggling to keep up. With exceptionally high construction prices paired with high interest rates, the prospect of new construction is a difficult consideration for most senior living operators. The other issue that is even more complicated for the State of Texas is the fact that Medicaid is woefully underfunded, placing it as one of the lowest reimbursement rates in the nation for providers of Long-term Care. The average provider loses approximately $123 per day for every elder on Medicaid. This complexity is another reason why adding more units in Texas isn't as easy as it appears. The moral of the story is older adults in Texas may find themselves with limited options when care needs come. Especially when you consider that many care communities have other residential apartments that they must extend care to first, ahead of the general public. Therefore, if you wish to secure a future at a high-quality care community, just in case, you may consider joining the community long before you need to. For example, living in the Independent Living area of the community provides the peace-of-mind that care is available to you before the option is passed along the those outside the community. A value that will come into full focus in the coming years.

3. Ready or not, adult children may not be equipped to provide care when needed.

Many seniors played the role of caregiver to their parents years ago and may expect that their adult child will do the same for them when the time comes. However, seniors today should consider how the world has changed in the many decades that have passed since they were in the adult child's shoes. While one income households were common years ago, in today's world, many homes are now two-income households, with a firm dependency on two paychecks to make ends meet. According to the Pew Research Center, in 1960 only 25% of households had two working professionals, jumping in 2012 to 60%, indicating an overall change in how families may care for children and older adults. Another pressure adult children are facing today is the commonality of "boomerang children." Put plainly, many children are returning to live with mom and dad after initially leaving the nest. Others are raising their grandchildren or participating more heavily in their care while the parents are working. There are a multitude of reasons why having this discussion now is greatly advantageous for your future. Know where you children stand and what pressures they are under. Make a plan that considers their many stressors rather than assuming they will absorb the task of caring for you if something changes.

Are you ready...or not? 

Take action now to be prepared. You don't need to know what the future holds, but you do need to know what the plan is if it involves care. The first step is to look into senior housing options that provide the full continuum of care, otherwise known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). These are the best places for those who are independent and active to secure a firm plan for future care at a top-quality care community. Take a tour, ask lots of questions, and consider all of the many "what ifs" life may have in store. When it comes to aging...ready or not....here it comes.

Won’t you come for a visit?

MRC Mirador Senior Living Discovery Explore Card, Corpus Christi