How Can You Support Yourself In Comfort as You Age?

Guest post from Eva Zatrak of Thistlecreek Health Care Ltd.

We are all living longer.  Each year the number of people reaching 65 years increases little by little.  We Baby Boomers are getting old and it opens up a whole can of worms when trying to secure a comfortable place to lay our hats in retirement.   Although this is a global problem, the solutions will vary greatly from region to region.   Some countries have a culture where children will care for their aging parents in their homes.  In these countries multi-generation cohabitating in the same home may be a norm.  Not so in many western countries and Canada is no exception.

Here, in Ontario, the provincial government says it has a mission to make the province the best place to age gracefully.  How they plan to make this happen is an enigma when one considers that hospitals are for the acutely ill and there are hardly any government funded retirement homes – definitely far too few to meet the needs of our aging population.  It is incredibly naive to expect the elderly to just stay healthy so they can stay in their homes. Yet this seems to be the plan of governments in the western world.

Health Minister, Deb Matthews says the objective of the Ontario government is to provide seniors with the type of care that will “keep them healthy and out of hospital”.  Today, access to this type of care is virtually nonexistent and even the best recommendations cannot be implemented overnight. At Thistlecreek Healthcare we have seen firsthand that unexpected and debilitating illnesses or accidents can result in the need for around-the-clock care for people of any age, not only the elderly.

Unlike some countries where family based care is the answer, the western world has to devise other solutions.  Traditionally the role of caregiver falls to the women in the family, but today they simply do not have the time or resources to make it work.  Most women today are at pivotal points in their careers, juggling a multitude of responsibilities.  What to do with aging parents?

SeniorCouple 2 picThis is where private home care companies, like Thistlecreek Healthcare step in to fill a gap.  Thistlecreek’s mission is providing care services that are not available via hospitals, retirement facilities and government services ...and to provide an alternative to family based care giving.  The down side is that private care can be pricey and not everyone can afford the services.  Many seniors mistakenly believe that full time care in a long term care facility will be fully covered by government health programs.  In Canada, this is NOT the case.

This means that individuals or their families will have to pay for a significant portion of the costs associated with long term care out of their own pockets, yet few have contemplated the need for long term care or assisted caregiving in their retirement planning.  It makes sense then, to seriously consider long term care insurance -- or designating other assets in your retirement portfolio -- to cover costs when health needs arise.  There are a few insurance companies that offer specific coverage for this type of scenario.

While one hopes to stay healthy forever, the fact remains, many of us won't.  Having the peace of mind that you can afford help when you will need it most is essential to your financial portfolio and overall wellbeing.  The wisest decision you can make today is to plan prudently for tomorrow.

Eva Zatrak is the founder and owner of Thistlecreek Health Care Ltd.   Available by phone at 905-582-9519 and on the web at where you can find further resources, also guidance on their long-term and even short-notice emergency care.   A tab there also introduces Eva's recent interview on Spotlight Radio, "the internet's biggest blog radio" sharing more of Eva's experience in serving seniors and their families.

1 comment

  1. Eva thank you for sharing this and also the wider resources of your own website. You are right: most have failed to plan for health costs that will hit our 60s, 70s, even our 90s and beyond. We already know 85% of health costs hit in the final five years of life. On strong authority of the IMF (International Monetary Fund, 2009) we know the health costs of aging boomers will dwarf the impact of 2008’s world-wide financial meltdown.

    If we do not guard sufficient assets, or insure our long term care, the result will be tragic. Seniors will run out of money while they need the greatest care and comfort of their lives. Adult children will bear parents’ costs just when setting out on their own retirement years. Governments will not fix this; not in Canada, not anywhere.

    Anyone born since 1930 …and each generation born since then, need this information. As families, as community, we need the resources that will protect our golden age citizens, their dignity, comfort, peace of mind, and overall health and wellbeing.

    And speaking financially, yes there is long term care insurance to create an entirely new and tax-free income stream when sudden or ongoing health-events threaten us. If we omit LTCI from our planning, we are actually reserving current assets to be spent for future illness & accident ….if that’s what we wanted (?). The question remains whether we have made this conscious choice of how we will pay the bills for health care due to injuries, critical illness, or increased frailty as we age.

    Financial security for LIFE certainly needs a plan that never runs out of money …come what may!

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