"Will you still need me? Will you still feed me? When I'm 64?" The Beatles first released these quaint, clarinet-fueled lyrics in 1967 when the loving answer to these questions was a resounding, "Yes!" Traditional marriage vows echo this sentiment in that they presuppose a relationship span that encompasses young and old age, wellness and serious illness, wealth and poverty. However, as modern aging has come to be defined by living longer with chronic care needs, and providing long-term care has shifted to the public sector, with two thirds of long term care services paid for by Medicaid, loving spouses may be forced to answer, "No," to these questions. The future of elder care may depend on divorce.
Aging and care are already expensive and stressful, and even the young Beatles in 1967 wondered if love now would translate into care in old age. It should.
In case you haven’t heard, long-term care needs are expensive. In 2014 the average annual cost of a semi-private room in a skilled nursing facility was $83,114! The majority (70 percent) of people over 65 need some level of long-term care at some point—whether that will be provided in a home, an assisted living center, or a nursing care facility, according to The Huffington Post in a recent article titled “Is Divorce the Best Option for Older Americans?”