To say that we are all navigating very challenging circumstances these days is an understatement. From the market swings this spring to the ongoing pandemic, everyone is striving to adapt to a constantly shifting environment. And despite these many new uncertainties, we still must also continue to deal with more constant issues—like the need to provide quality care for our aging loved ones. My own family recently faced this issue. A few months ago, an administrator from the independent living community where my 91-year-old mother lived gave me a call with news I had expected but wasn’t eager to hear: it was time to find an assisted living situation for my mom. As a wealth advisor with 13 years of experience, I’m used to developing strategies to deal with such situations, and I’ve helped many clients determine the right course of action for their families. But now this was facing me, my siblings, and our mother. Despite my experience—and despite the luxury of having some time on our hands to research options—I discovered that finding a new situation for my mom was more difficult than I anticipated. I wish I had been better informed and better prepared for what I encountered, but after these experiences, I was able to bring these “lessons learned” to a new strategic initiative at Truepoint, focused on caring for the aging.
Aging Care: A Growing Need
We began this initiative because it is clear that an increasing number of our clients and their families will be struggling with elder care issues in the years to come. According to a June 2020 report from the United States Census Bureau, “the nation’s 65-and-older population has grown rapidly since 2010, driven by the aging of Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964…. [N]o other age group saw such a fast increase.” In fact, the number of Americans aged 65 and over is projected to double by 2060. Therefore, the size of this group is growing rapidly, and their needs will be considerable, too, given that:
- 8 out of 10 want to age at home
- 1 out of 7 have a chronic illness
- 90% will have family as caregivers
In other words, this is a large segment of the population that requires specific care but wants it delivered on their own terms. This can put a tremendous amount of pressure on caregivers who want to provide family members with the highest quality services but must also confront logistical concerns, such as family members’ locations, financial resources, and complicated healthcare needs.
Regardless of love and good intentions, caregiving can be demanding work. Of the 43.5 million family caregivers in the U.S., 11.5 million put in at least 20 hours of caregiving each week. The situation of these caregivers may surprise you:
- Family caregiving translates into $470B of unpaid labor each year in the U.S.
- 50% of family caregivers are under 50 years old
- 25% of family caregivers are millennials
Truepoint Takes a Holistic Approach to Elder Care
This data, combined with our extensive experience working with clients who care for loved ones, convinced us that we needed to take a different—and deeper—approach. Our aging initiative grew out of our larger commitment to increase our clients’ peace of mind by creating holistic financial life plans. As our clients and their family members age, they need sensitive, timely, and targeted advice to help them navigate a range of issues, which can include cognitive decline, changing financial status, protection from elder fraud, and evolving medical and healthcare needs. These can be difficult topics to bring up, so they must be raised in a caring way—with a focus on finding workable solutions, tailored to that family.
An important aspect of Truepoint’s holistic approach is recognizing that clients need more than just financial help in order to achieve their goals and meet their changing needs. Over many years, we had developed a network of adept professionals, organizations, and institutions and also identified helpful resources that assisted clients as they navigated the many aspects of elder care. Although this referral process was beneficial, it was also mostly informal, so as part of our aging initiative, we compiled an extensive list that could be easily shared with all of our clients. Now our clients have access to our recommendations in areas like home health agencies, elder attorneys, relocation services, bill pay, and more.
Exploring the Caregiving Landscape
One of the first projects from our aging initiative was hosting a Truepoint Talks webinar on family caregiving and navigating the long-term care landscape, which was held on August 11. This session was facilitated by Molly Prues, Founder & President of VistaLynk, a Cincinnati-based company that provides programs and services to support healthy aging, targeting both elder adults and their loved ones. We discussed the financial, emotional, and physical aspects of caregiving and identified some of the best options and strategies for providing care to aging loved ones.
Though I recognized the many issues facing family caregivers, it was eye-opening to deal with this transition myself. In addition to all of the work I had already been doing—my professional life, parenting my own children—I found myself having a whole new set of responsibilities. I needed to find the time and energy to become the care coordinator for my mom. Though it was gratifying and important work, it was difficult emotionally and also strategically. As a result, one of the key messages I want to give our clients is: you don’t have to go it alone. I’m proud that Truepoint is implementing a program that will provide more robust support for our family caregiving clients—not only considering their financial needs, but also connecting them to helpful and trusted resources to ease their entire journey.