As a child, your parents seem invincible.  They are strong and powerful, and they care for you.  However, as you grow older and have a family of your own, you may notice changes in your parents.  Their knees and hips begin to hurt, they have more lines and wrinkles on their faces, and suddenly, you can see a time when they will need help as they helped you when you were young.

Caring for aging parents is not cheap.  A recent article on NPR stated that the average cost of assisted living for elderly parents is $3,500 a month.  In a perfect world, your parents have diligently set aside retirement funds and have a nice cushion to see them through to the end of their lives, even if they require assisted living.

Unfortunately, that is often not the reality.  The economy may have affected your parents’ retirement funds, and if they suffer from an illness such as Alzheimer’s, they may need care for several years.

Once their retirement fund is exhausted, you as the child will likely need to chip in.  Can you do so when you are raising and supporting your own family?

One way that may help you bridge the difference between the expensive care they require and dwindling funds is long-term care insurance.  However, like any insurance, this is something you must think about long before your parents ever need it.  Ideally, your parents will begin to purchase long-term care insurance in their early 60s.  If they don’t want to spend the money, you may want to consider purchasing it for them and paying the monthly premium because long-term care costs are at their lowest when you buy it when people are in their 60s.

Suze Orman urged her mother to get long-term care insurance, but her mother didn’t because she thought it was a waste of money.  Orman’s mother ended up living well into her 90s and needed assisted living, which Orman paid for out of pocket because she had the funds to do so.  Still, she often says she wished she would have paid the premiums for her mother so she would have been covered by long-term care insurance.

Before you broach the conversation of long term care insurance with your parents, it is a good idea to learn more about it.  Genworth offers an informative web page.  

After you have learned about it, you may want to explain what long term care insurance does to your parents and offer to pay all or half of their premiums.

Watching parents age is never easy, but with the proper insurance in place, you won’t have to worry as much about the financial aspect.