Although the demand for long-term care for Canada’s seniors continues to skyrocket, the number of seniors actually planning for it is not keeping pace. And while many older adults are beginning to make end-of-life plans, they are neglecting the years of life that are part of such arrangements. According to a new survey by Home Instead, Inc., more than three-fourths of seniors feel more comfortable planning for their funeral than their final years. Additionally, while 73 percent of seniors have taken steps toward preparing financially for their final years, only 13 percent have prepared financially for their long-term care.
“Final years planning can be easily misconstrued, and many people think they only need to plan for their final days and after,” said Jeff Huber, president and CEO of Home Instead Senior Care. “Often, we forget about the fact that as we age we might want or need extra care in the final days, months or even years of our lives – care so we can stay in our homes, care so we can remain independent, care so we can be around for our families and more of life’s milestones. The gap we saw from our research shows a critical need for resources to help seniors and their families better plan for their final years.”The Home Instead survey revealed that seniors and their loved ones overestimate the plans seniors have in place. More than half of seniors who have made plans haven’t made actual arrangements – the main reasons being because they are still in good health (54 percent) and they trust their loved ones to handle their arrangements for them (48 percent).
“It sounds contradictory, but end of life planning is something that can start far in advance of the final years,” said Brian Burlacoff, Financial Advisor at Sun Life Financial Canada. “Having conversations early on and putting a plan in place will relieve stress on both the individual and their family when the final years do arrive.”To help families plan for the final years, Burlacoff and Home Instead have partnered to develop the following considerations for seniors to consider when planning for their final years:
While adults (59 percent) and seniors (76 percent) agree, discussing and making plans for their final years makes them feel more prepared, only 58 percent of adults say they have discussed their parents’ plans for their final years with them.
To help seniors and their families understand the steps they need to take to plan for their final years, Home Instead has developed Compose Your Life SongSM, an education program that offers planning resources and tips for seniors and their loved ones.Home Instead has developed conversation starters around final years planning and other free resources to encourage seniors and their adult children to talk to one another about plans for their final years, and to help them explore options for care, finances, insurance and funeral planning. The program also features the online Compose Your Life SongSM music generator, where families’ personal accomplishments and planning are layered in musical notes leading to a harmonious grand finale. “We are committed to helping aging adults take control and decide how their life story ends,” said Huber. “By empowering seniors to make plans, as well as encouraging conversations with adult children, older adults are able to be in charge and have their wishes honoured – something everyone deserves.”Families can find final years planning resources and information about the Compose Your Life SongSM program at
www.ComposeYourLifeSong.ca. For more information about local Home Instead Senior Care offices and to learn how their professional CAREGiversSM may be able to assist, please visit
www.homeinstead.ca to find an office near you.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.