When you think about retirement, it’s only natural to focus on having the time to focus on things that give you pleasure after many years of hard work. If you are currently enjoying good health (and long may that continue), it can be difficult to picture the situation changing. In some cases, future health issues that you will encounter will be relatively minor ones. In other situations, you or a loved one will be faced with living with a chronic illness or the sudden trauma of an accident. Since Canadians can now look forward to living longer in retirement than previous generations, you need to be aware of the 5 stages of long term care which can have an impact on retirement planning.
5 Stages of Long Term Care
Stage 1: Independence
This is the stage which all of us hope will last the longest. During this time, you are self-sufficient and able to manage any of your health concerns, including those associated with chronic illness or disability, on your own without help from either your family or paid caregivers.
Stage 2: Interdependence
During the interdependence stage, health issues will start to interfere with activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, toileting, etc.). You will start to need help from family members for things like grocery shopping, cooking, banking, and housekeeping, but will not need to hire people to help you with these tasks yet. At this point, your family may start looking at a senior’s residence where you would have access to amenities such as a private suite, on-site security, laundry facilities, cleaning services, and a meal plan.
Stage 3: Supportive Living
In the third stage of long term care, you have started to become more dependent on others for practical things like meal preparation, shopping, transportation, and cleaning. You may need some limited help with bathing, dressing, and grooming.
You will likely be getting help from family members and some formal services from home care providers or adult day care centers. At this stage, you may be living in an assisted living facility or a retirement residence. Your choices will depend on your finances; government subsidies for elder care are very limited.
Stage 4: Crisis Management
At this point, you are dependent on others but you may still be able to receive care in your own home. Family members will 0have started to burn out at this stage from the demands of looking after your multiple health and personal care needs. Formal home care may not be sufficient to meet your needs or it may simply be too expensive for your budget.
Stage 5: Dependence
By the time you reach this stage, your needs will need to be met by nursing and personal care staff at a long-term care facility. Family members have become overwhelmed and exhausted from trying to meet your care requirements. You may need constant supervision for your own safety as well.
We all hope for a long and healthy retirement but if we are not financially prepared for longevity, we may outlive our money. With proper planning though, we can have peace of mind about the quality of retirement we can afford and ensure that we have enough money to pay for the health care we may eventually need.
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