A patient came to me this week whose story woven around the lost her husband of 45 years. What was once a tolerable retirement now became an uncertain future. In tears, she related how her retirement savings had been drained to care for her husband and she was despondent about funding her own health issues.
To me, this is a striking example of an anomaly in our society where science has expanded the life span of humans, yet society has not kept up on how to finance it. Principally, our senior health care system depends upon a mix of public and private insurance. But the current crop of seniors they and society have not bargained for the rapid rise in health care costs.
Extended families, once the backbone of the American West and of many immigrant families , have exploded as education and employment opportunities have scattered families far and wide. With an extended family so widespread, the ability to care for the family elders have diminished. Not only are there pressures to fund shelter for themselves, children have begun to realize that they themselves have limited capability to care for their parents.
Can the tax law be modified to encourage specific savings for one’s parents? What do you think?
Richard Hom OD MPA