Long-term care is expensive and many people just don’t want to go into the type of nursing home they can afford…the kind which often features shared rooms, impersonal cafeterias, and overworked-underpaid staff. Everyone wants the ideal they’ve set up in their mind whether it is for themselves or their loved one…this is the facility where living feels like home, the staff all love what they are doing, and money is a concern for no one.

For many people, living at home will never be an option because of the oft needed situation of 24 hour care needs. What is a family to do?

The truth is, Americans are getting older and we as a nation still have not come to terms with it. By the year 2050, one-third of the U.S. population will be 65 or older, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Around 4 percent of the population will be 85 or older at that point, and more than half of them will have difficulty performing some of the basic activities of daily living including include bathing, dressing, eating, walking, transferring out of a bed or chair, and using the toilet.

Older Americans need help now, but this is only the tip of the iceberg.

The recent recession has made decisions for elders even more difficult. Many of them lost significant savings in the stock-market collapse. Others who might have thought they could rely on baby-boomer children to help care for them as they got older are now faced with the reality that their children may have to work much later in life then they themselves had. This economic considerations affect not only the American worker, but the decisions families are able to make for their elders.

To make matters worse, when elderly people move into assisted living they will often get sicker and be forced to move into a nursing home environment where care is more attentive but freedom is curtailed. Studies have shown that there are significant rates of depression among nursing home patients and even the thought of going into a nursing home often leads to elders contemplating suicide. The situation for them is two-fold at the very least: they often feel as if they are a financial burden to their families while at the same time fear the sense of vulnerability which comes with becoming a nursing home resident.

These are issues that all families eventually face and dilemmas that no one wishes on anyone. But thinking ahead and having a plan for the care of your parents and grandparents—and even for yourself in the coming years—will mitigate a number of concerns. At Bridge Care, we specialize in helping families grapple with these issues by providing sound advice and pointing you to resources that count. The statistics show that America isn’t getting any younger, what are you doing to plan for what everyone should expect?