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Thursday, November 21, 2013

It’s time to talk turkey

Everyone dreads “the talk.” It’s inevitably awkward, always painful and absolutely heartwrenching. What will we do with mom and dad? Even worse, it’s easily avoided with a liberal application of self-delusion.

Over 70 percent of Americans will need long-term care at some point in their lives. Only 25 percent actually believe that they’ll need it themselves. As a result, nearly all of us are unprepared for a harsh reality. In-home care, even occasionally, is expensive and 24-hour care for feeding, bathing and toileting is financially insurmountable for most – if you’re unprepared. 

A new report from UC Berkeley drives home the point. Over the next decade, the number of retiring baby boomers in California will increase from 4.8 million to 6.9 million. Right alongside that will be an astronomical bill that may bankrupt the state, your friends and your family. 

Today, government spends an impressive figure on Medi-Cal’s long-term care support – about $6.6 billion. In 2023, that number could double to $12.4 billion. And since Medi-Cal only covers the poorest Californians, untold billions will come right out of our paychecks.

Thankfully, the picture isn’t all doom and gloom. If you plan today, we all can have a better tomorrow.

 “Now is the time for families to start talking, especially around the holidays. We want families to begin having conversations about long-term care and long-term care needs,” says Brenda Bufford, program director for California’s Partnership for Long-Term Care, after mentioning that only 10 percent of Californians have some sort of long-term health plan. 

In other words, it’s high time to talk turkey this Thanksgiving. 

Working with your family, you can decide what is best for everyone. Should you invest in long-term care insurance? Should you save and hope for the best? Or, is your family willing and able to take care of you?

The only way to answer these questions is to start the conversation. For more information on how to get the ball rolling and to learn more about the UC Berkeley report, visit

~ Jonathan 

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