If we are fortunate enough to live a long life we will be faced with the prospect of not fully being able to care for ourselves; atrophy eats away muscles, bones become frail, our mind just isn’t as quick and that’s if we’re lucky.
Ask yourself the question who will look after me in old age? Children, friends, the government or will you employ someone? Then ask how will this be paid for? When you consider on average 90% of a persons medical expenses are incurred in the last 2 years of their life, old age is not cheap. Fortunately in Australia we have government assistance for many of these services and expenses. But this is a ‘one size fits all’ standard. When you consider the independent nature of most Aussies it seems unlikely that if given a choice most people will want to live independently with individual nursing care.
The people who work in aged care are generally speaking the friendliest and most caring folk you could ever meet, who see past the worn out shell to the human within. What amazes these people is the lack of family support for the aged. So if you’re planning to rely on your children in your twilight years maybe you’ll need to put in place a few contingencies. In the words of a senior administrator of an aged care facility that I spoke to recently “Old age sucks! So get over it and plan to make the best of it.” Long term financial planning will give you the best chance of a dignified life in old age.