How to pay the cost of growing old

Ensure access to a caregiver for you or your loved one

Today's longer-lived society means almost everyone will eventually need a caregiver or become one. Yet Robert L. Kane, M.D., director of the Center on Aging at the University of Minnesota and author of The Good Caregiver (to be published in March), says few prepare to handle such a responsibility until they need to. “The business of growing old is just that, a business, and a costly one,” he says. His advice:



Make money last. Finding a happy medium between budgeting realistically and getting the best care money can buy can be difficult — especially since it's hard to estimate how long the need for long-term care may last. Look into public programs such as Medicaid and see if your loved one qualifies.

Accept guidance. If you have questions about long-term care insurance, estate planning, advance directives and similar matters, consult a lawyer and/or financial planner, who can help you discover what's best for your loved one.

Listen and engage. Keep your loved one involved to ensure his approval.

By CHRISTINE J. KIM • November 7, 2010, USA WEEKEND Magazine