Getting Older Isn't Getting Any Cheaper

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Finding quality care for aging parents is tough. And when it comes to getting long term care, families can go broke, fast.

Jenna Bohacek sees family struggle to find care for their loved ones every day.

"Families don't realize the benefits of assisted living until it's too late," Bohacek said.

She believes the most important part of taking care of your family is preparing in advance.

"A lot of times, the adult children are frazzled or they're scared or overwhelmed," she said. "It's important to share those concerns that you have with the community."

Bohacek says the best step to take is asking the right questions. Like, can I afford assisted living? And, who's going to pay for it?

When it comes to taking care of an elderly loved one, no decision is easy. The American Association of Retired Persons recently released a score card saying that the state of Michigan needs to do more to fund the caregivers and others taking care of the elderly.

Kari Sederburg, director of services to the aging, agrees. She is working to find ways to improve quality of life by paying less.

"There are a lot of other options and a lot of people don't need that twenty four hour care," she said. "So how do we get people what they need that's ultimately less expensive? Those are some of the strategies that we're working on and obviously some areas that we can also improve."

The AARP encourages basic support for caregivers, like family leave from work, and ways to make hospital transportation easier.

And Bohacek says no matter what path your loved one takes, remember the basics.

"We all want the same things," she said. "We want everyone's loved one to be happy, healthy and safe."

Most middle income families that can't afford assisted living stay home to care for their loved ones. That unpaid care totals about $16 billion a year.

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