When an individual has to go through a long term care event there is often a support team that exists to help out. This support team usually consists of family members, and in some cases neighbors, friends, or religious groups. This group of people will usually do their best to provide assistance to the individual in need, the care recipient.
As the care recipients needs evolve a primary caregiver will usually emerge from this support group. The primary caregiver will oftentimes provide the majority of hands-on care, along with the coordination of necessary long term care services. In addition, the primary caregiver will oftentimes contribute a significant amount of financial support. The primary caregiver and their family are typically the most impacted by a long term care event involving a loved one.
In addition to the primary caregiver, a secondary caregiver will also emerge. The secondary caregiver will usually understand all the dynamics of the care and needs of the care recipient. And, although they may not be as involved as the primary caregiver, they too will spend a significant amount of time assisting the care recipient. The financial and emotional impacts of a long term care event can be similar to those that affect the primary caregiver, and should not be underestimated.
In most cases, the primary and secondary caregivers will not be the only people who are impacted – often overlooked are the caregivers’ families – spouses, sibling, children, and in-laws.
In September 2009, Genworth Financial published Beyond Dollars: The True Impact of Long Term Caring. This study surveyed more than 800 individuals who had either been a care recipient or a care provider. This study revealed a number of facts of how a long term care event can affect caregivers’. Of the individuals surveyed, more than ninety percent indicated they had to work fewer hours or had lost a job, had to change shifts, and/or missed out on career opportunities. Contributions to savings accounts were reduced by more than seventy percent. And, primary caregivers contributed $8,800 on average for out-of-pocket expenses – not including the cost of facility care, like a nursing home.
Deciding on how to deal with a long term care need can be very stressful, but putting a plan in place before a long term care need occurs can assist families immensely. Exploring the options available through a well-structured long term care insurance policy can reduce the financial and emotional impact of an unexpected long term care event. Having a policy will allow families to avoid having to make emotional and financial decision unexpectedly, and reduce the potential of compromising the quality of those decisions. A long term care need affects more than just the care recipient – it will affect your finances, emotions, career, and family members.