10% or 90%? Which group will you be in?

Did those numbers grab your attention?

Here’s the reference point. Only 10% of the population experiences a sudden death (usually violent*); most of us will be in the 90% that suffers a prolonged disease or illness. For those who think because they’re young, and invincible–look at how a stupid driver, going the wrong direction on a Florida interstate, snuffed out the innocent lives of four college students: *http://www.baynews9.com/content/news/baynews9/news/article.html/content/news/articles/bn9/2014/2/9/wrong_way_crash_kill.html One commentator reported that 352 people are killed each year because of drivers going in the wrong direction.

Today I am concentrating on the 90%. The twin issues of making preparations for what you want to establish for your own End of Life and your potential responsibilities of becoming a caregiver are the flip sides of the same coin. Few of us will escape this duality.

Are you in the Sandwich Generation, ages 25-70, taking care of your family and dependent parents? With each passing year you might become the caregiver, the patient, or both. Will you know what to do? What to say? What questions to ask? The decisions are overwhelming. The lynchpin: How will you pay for everything?

Did you know that every day since 2008, ten thousand Baby Boomers (1943-1960) turned sixty-five? By 2025, when the last Boomer officially becomes a senior, America will have the largest 65+ population in our history. But wait–it gets more complicated. Here are two problems that lengthen the Care giving experience:

#1 Due to the recent economic downturn, some older children never left home, or because of employment problems, returned home, with your grandchildren.

#2 People now live longer: the average life expectancy for women in America is 81 years old; 76 for men.

I’ve also read that 48 is the average age when women start as caregivers; they’re probably 63 years old if they’re caring for someone over 65. There’s a disparity between the number of   hours per week that women and men log-in as caregivers. Out-of-pocket expenses are usually over $5000 annually, but can reach $8000 when care giving is done from a distance.

Shouldn’t everyone use The Girl Scouts motto: Plan Ahead? Please check out the Links and Resources on my website, www.yourexitstrategy.org to start your own research. Like to be in control? Good leaders are well-educated. Launch an active discussion with your children and extended family now. If you died next week, would your family be devastated? Overwhelmed with feelings of shame or guilt? Would they know how to proceed?

February 26, 2014