When you talk to people about planning for their future, most of the time you are talking about planning for retirement and/or old age. It’s super important to plan for retirement because there are a lot of expenses that come along with getting up there in years that most people don’t think about. With increases in life expectancy have come increases in long term health problems like dementia, which can be a major financial burden to anyone dealing with it. People plan for retirement and life expectancy, but almost no one plans for quality of life expectancy.
Between 2006 and 2016 life expectancy in the U.S. went from 77.7 years to 78.6 years overall, but the disparity is greater depending on your socioeconomic class. Upper middle class and wealthy people in the United States are experiencing even greater life expectancies with wealthy men living an average of 88.8 years and wealthy women living an average of 91.9 years. If you are planning to live ten years after you retire at the age of 68, you may not be planning long enough, which means your money will run out and your quality of life expectancy will decline for the last years of your life.
Once you hit 65 years or older your risk for developing Alzheimer’s dementia begins to increase. Between 65 and 74 you are at a 3% risk of getting Alzheimer’s dementia. Between 75 and 84 that jumps up to 17%. Past the age of 85 more than a third of people will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia. The national average for senior care is $3600 a month, while Alzheimer’s and other dementia care costs on average $1150 more per month than that for a total of $4750 per month on average for basic care once you develop dementia, according to Paying For Senior Care. That means if you plan to live ten years after retirement and develop dementia at year ten, living just to the national average of six more months after that can cost $28,500 for the most basic care.
Planning for better care starts now. There are senior communities that actively work to provide better care for seniors with dementia by doing things like increasing outdoor time and green spaces, making residents’ doors look like their former homes, and even one place in Germany that made a replica bus stop so that upset dementia patients would have a place to go when they felt the need to flee.
Learn more about quality of life expectancy and dementia care from this infographic.