Planning doesn't stop when you are retired. While you may stay healthy and live independently throughout your retirement, you could need help down the road from grown children or other family members. If so, would they be financially prepared?  

Consider these statistics, taken from a recent AARP report:

  • 78 percent of caregivers pay for some caregiving costs out of their own pockets.
  • 20 percent experience significant financial strain as a result of caregiving.
  • 30 percent have stopped saving for their own needs or goals.

What can you do now to help your loved ones avoid similar experiences?

You can start by addressing the potential need for long-term care. These expenses can be alarming: The average cost for a single room in a nursing home is now over $100,000 per year, according to Genworth, an insurance company. Medicare typically doesn’t cover these costs, so you may want to consider some type of long-term care protection.

You’ll also want to make sure your loved ones are aware of the big picture.  Financial and legal issues may arise, along with the likely necessity of estate planning arrangements.

Here are a few tips for approaching the issue of caregiving:

  1. Start talking. Communicate with your loved ones about their possible roles if you should ever need caregiving services. The earlier you start the conversation, the better.
  2. Explore other sources of help. Friends, clubs and religious or other organizations may be able to lend a hand. Your city or county may also provide social services and resources.
  3. Create a plan. It’s important to create a caregiving plan, so everyone is on the same page.  You may want to consult with your financial advisor, who can suggest ways of preparing for the various costs involved with caregiving.

The prospect of needing care is not easy – but through open communication and proper planning, you and your family can navigate the experience successfully.