Mick Jagger taught Baby Boomers an important lesson this week. Fitness activity is not enough to prevent Heart Disease. Of all of the Stones, Mick was the last one that anyone would predict heart surgery. Mick’s father was a Physical Education instructor and Mick learned his fitness lessons well. According to news reports, he maintained a healthy lifestyle for decades. Yet, he still went under the knife to replace a heart valve.
Was it genetics, poor diet at an early age, or something else? Of course, we will never know if he stuck to a healthy diet. I suspect that Mr. Jagger suffered from long-term elevated blood oxidative stress (BLOS), which promotes atherosclerosis and heart disease. Over time, BLOS results in multiple chronic conditions including heart disease, which leads to expensive medical and Senior care.
Demographics and Multiple Chronic Health Conditions
A 2010 survey revealed that 80% of adults over age 65 have multiple chronic health conditions. The top 4 chronic health conditions for Seniors are Hypertension (58%), High Cholesterol (45%), Ischemic Heart Disease (31%) and Diabetes (28%). Many of these chronic health conditions may be due to long-term blood oxidative stress (BLOS) from a poor diet. As expected, the cost of Medical Care for Seniors with multiple chronic health conditions increases with more physician visits and prescriptions. A recent report suggests that the number of adults with Alzheimer’s Disease may be double. These chronic health conditions also limit lifestyle, which results in more expensive Senior Care Choices. A lifetime of poor lifestyle choices will deplete savings for Seniors and their loved ones. Let’s review the cost of the current options for Senior Care.
Senior Care Choices
The choices available for Senior Care are a function of Senior Health State. As expected, healthier Seniors have more affordable Senior Care. Living at home with local family support is the ideal Senior Care option with both lowest expense and highest quality of life.
Next, Independent Senior Communities offer limited services for active Seniors with minor health conditions for an additional monthly cost of $400-$2,000. For most Seniors, this option would be ideal for their remaining years. However, as Seniors develop multiple chronic health conditions, this option will not be available. Friends and family are replaced by trained Senior caregivers and on-site nurses and physicians. As expected, the cost of medical care and Senior Care rise with the remaining options.
Assisted Senior Living Communities provide regulated assistance to Seniors and range in cost from $2,500-$6,000 per month. This assistance increases the monthly costs by $2,000-$4,000 compared to Independent Senior Communities.
Nursing Homes provide intense assistance with a hefty price tag of $4,500-$12,000 per month. 24/7 care for your Senior has a high cost.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities are the most expensive Senior Care option due to the first-rate care. No cost estimate was available, but you should expect costs in the range of Nursing Homes.
Memory Care Communities are a more recent Senior Care option that provides assistance for Seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia have an average monthly cost of $5,000.
How Will You Pay for Your Senior Care?
These expensive Senior Care Options do not include the high cost of prescription medications. Do you have enough savings to pay for your Senior years? As a Senior, your best strategy for extending your limited savings and retirement funds is to delay or prevent the onset of multiple chronic health conditions. Are there lifestyle choices that you can make today that could help you and your family in planning your Senior Care?
Family Plan for Sustainable Senior Care
The Senior’s family needs to prepare a sustainable plan for Senior Care. Although it is an uncomfortable topic, it is in everyone’s best interest to have that conversation earlier. First, review the financial status. Second, review health status. Third, review lifestyle choices. Fourth, prepare a plan for Sustainable Senior Care. You will not complete this 4-step process in one afternoon. It may take several conversations with your Senior to get the complete truth about finances and health. Be patient and take careful notes.