Saving For “Retirement” Is Easy Compared To This

We hear a lot from the so-called financial experts about the importance of saving for retirement.
Retirement is easy. You need food, shelter, and clothing. The challenge is to save for long-term illness.

Many of the elderly of our county require a lot of extra care. Many of these people were healthy all of their lives before dementia, Alzheimer’s, or physical ailments arrived on the scene. Not only do they need a lot of personal and medical care, they need help with managing finances, shopping, doing the research on care providers, etc.

Retiring to a sunbelt state is easy. Stepping in to look after the care of an elderly parent…now THAT is the real challenge. And if your family member (parent, aunt, sister, etc.) didn’t earn a lot of money, or did not manage the money, ie save some of it, you are in for some real fun and stress.

You want to give them the best of care, but when money is limited…plus you need to work for a living, you are going to have to make a choice.

A friend recently mentioned an illness with her 60 something single sister who still works, but is addicted to TV shopping shows. Now her sister is worried about high deductibles on her health insurance. My friend said how she spent her money (filling her home with crap from home shopping network) is her business.

My reply: not if you have to take care of her when she’s sick.

6 Responses to “Saving For “Retirement” Is Easy Compared To This”

  1. Theresa

    Thing is your friend does not have to take care of her. It would be nice for her to because she’s family, but if she can’t take of her, she can’t. My single aunt also was debt up to her eyeballs, credits cards maxed out, my father (her brother) and other siblings, after she got ill, put her in a lovely place on South Broadway, sold her stuff, and her teeny, tiny pension goes to the nursing home and she has never looked or thrived better. Her family felt bad about not being able to take care of her, but she’s a grown woman and this is the circumstance she put herself in. They felt bad for about a month, but now “everyone makes their own bed” attitude has kicked in. BTW – all of her debt has been wiped out (3 months of medical debt prior to her being admitted to nursing home). This all happened when my aunt was 69-70 years old.

  2. intuitivelyobvious


    But the reality is many people do look after family members when they no longer can. And that can happen at any age. Apparently some people don’t get quite sick enough for a nursing home, but they are too ill to live alone. If the family has been close, they aren’t going to be able to look the other way. If the mental state reaches a point where the person can’t perform basic tasks, it would be cruel to not take some steps to get the person some help.

    I think if more people spend more time around nursing homes, or other elderly people who would like to return to their homes, they might think about saving a little money for the care they may need some day to keep them in their home.

  3. Theresa

    When my aunt would take her medicine, she could and did live alone. When her bad spending overtook her ability to pay for her medicine, her health declined therefore she was placed in a nursing home. Her family is close and they tried to help, but they are all older than her and can only take care of themselves. My aunt spent her whole life working in a hospital with older people, so she had a clue, decided not to take care of herself (financial wise), when she was able and she is where she is.

  4. Sandy

    It is a lesson for all of us….that “day” will come when loved ones will need to make decisions for us. The “average” annual price for a nursing home in the St. Louis area is $56K.

  5. gibgrl

    ok you lost me on the shopping channel twist at the end. Are you saying that it is dementia that contributes to irrational shopping or just plain old irresponsibility.

    I cannot honestly put irresponsible behaviour in the same bucket as fixed income needs medical or assisted living. Nor can i put caring for a parent in the bucket as caring for a sibling.

    I guess when the personal assets run out the state kicks in. The ability for most to save a dime seems very low; taking someone into your home is one thing, footing the bill is another.

    WE have a crappy system for dealing with our elderly for sure but helping only to the extent that it doesn’t impinge on your own ability to survive is all one can reasonably ask if that much.

  6. intuitivelyobvious

    I’m saying some people do not save for the rainy day that comes. People’s priorities can sure be out of whack. Plain old irresponsibility.

    Some people who are struggling to provide care for sick elderly parents watched them spend, spend, spend when they were healthy. Now the children are up against the wall trying to support their own families, save for their own retirements, and provide caregiving for parents. The government does not pay for home health care that can be a godsend.

    I toured some nursing homes that you would not want to leave your dog at. But I’m sure some folks don’t have a choice. It’s one thing to have worked at low paying jobs and not have been able to save. It’s another thing to spend every extra dime you have at the casino, the golf course, the shopping mall, etc. and not leave your family any resources to care for you.

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