Tackling a difficult topic: End-of-life care

Right now, thousands of seniors do not have a plan for end-of-life care — a problem that families are dealing with in Southwest Florida.

“65 comes very quickly.”

Joe Kleva retired in 1997 and is living out the rest of his years in Southwest Florida.

“Before you know it, if you’re sitting there and you procrastinated any, you might be in trouble at 65,” Kleva said.

That’s an issue that Marisa Miller, who works at Home Instead Senior Care, says she’s seeing more of these days.

“The issue is that seniors are not talking to their children and vice-versa,” said Miller.

And not just about retirement, end-of-life care is a big issue that Miller says families wait too long to discuss.

“The adult children are left scrambling trying to figure out what to do,” Miller said.

A 2017 study by Genworth found that the average cost of a private nursing home room in the Cape Coral area is about $7900 per month.

In 10 years that number is expected to climb to more than $11,000.

“Our study shows that 73 percent of seniors have developed a will, but only 13 percent have planned for long-term care, so that’s pretty alarming.”

Which is why programs like Home Instead’s “Life Song” composer can help families start the difficult conversation.

“Basically, what it is, it’s an interactive tool to help families start the conversation for long term planning,” said Miller.

Planning that Kleva says can make or break your final years.

“We didn’t have to talk to our kids about that,” said Kleva.

It’s a conversation Kleva encourages others to have before it’s too late.

Research with the University of Washington School of Medicine found that the quality of death and dying is higher for people who are able to die at home.

Something to consider for your end-of-life plan.

“It’s never too soon,” Miller said.

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