I wish I had a better answer for her. But I encouraged her to think about what she was going through and prepare for the day when her children are faced with the same issue.
Really, that's the message of a recent report "The Aging of the Baby Boom and the Growing Care Gap" by the AARP Public Policy Institute. As the population of older people increases over the next 20 years, the number of adults in their primary caregiving years (ages 45 to 64) is projected to remain flat. This means the availability of family caregivers -- mostly adult children -- to arrange, coordinate, provide and/or pay for long-term care services is expected to decline.
However, more than two-thirds of Americans believe that they will be able to rely on their families to meet their long-term care needs.
"The future looks very unlike the past," said Lynn Feinberg, AARP senior policy adviser and one of the report's authors. "We have more women in the workforce who are juggling caregiving and work. There are a greater number of people living at a distance. There is huge number of people who don't have any living children. We have to look at public as well as private community solutions to long-term care."
The AARP report is a cautionary tale for today's caregivers and other midlife individuals. You may be caring for your mom or dad now, but who will care for you? "Boomers who are the large cohort of caregivers have to start thinking ahead as they are providing care," said Donald Redfoot, AARP senior strategic policy adviser and co-author of the report.
To help you plan for your long-term care needs, AARP has created a 40-day challenge called "Decide. Create. Share." Although it is geared toward women in their 40s, 50s and 60s, guys should join in too. Go to www.decidecreateshare.org and take the pledge.