When it comes to growing older, there is one great insurance plan that you simply can’t buy from an agent: your children.
Family members provide the majority of senior care in this country. They do it with little training, no pay, and in spite of their own busy lives — all out of the goodness of their hearts. The situation isn’t ideal, but given the cost of senior care (especially for those suffering with illness), it’s often the only practical option.
But what happens if you don’t have kids to care for you?
A new study shows that a growing number of people in the U.K. are choosing not to have children there. That could mean major changes to their healthcare system in less than a generation’s time. A few years ago, The New York Times told us that a similar trend is happening here in the United States.
Potentially, an increase in childless seniors could spell catastrophe for the healthcare system. But so far, that hasn’t been the case.
Studies find that childless couples do not receive less care on average than those with kids. Nor do they score any lower on the happiness index. Very few express regret over the decision not to become parents, just as those who did have kids are happy to have done so. It seems most people are more or less happy with their lot in life by the time they reach the end of it.
Still, the Times notes, older Americans do worry about who’ll help them down the road. For many, “chosen family” networks — friends, volunteers, and support groups — fill the void.
Will that continue as a viable system-wide solution as the number of childless elders grows? Only time will tell.
In the meantime, one of the best steps you can take for yourself is to begin a long-term care plan as soon as possible. Making legal and financial arrangements today could spare you a lot of hardship and anxiety in later years.
There’s no reason for anyone to fear the future, regardless of the lives they’ve chosen for themselves. If you’d like to talk about your options, feel free to give me a call. We can put together a plan that will give you peace of mind.