Should You be Saving For Your Parents’ Long Term Care? with Lily Vittayarukskul – EP 377

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The retirement topic always got people walking on eggshells. It’s mostly a tricky subject to bring up with our aging parents for a variety of reasons, and it’s only valid. In this episode, Jen and Jill, along with the creator of Waterlily, Lily Vittayarukskul, share about how planning for long-term care impacts us and the practices we can do to prepare ourselves as well as our parents for their long-term care. 

If you do put in some planning, you’re just preparing yourself with knowledge and it takes a little bit of the burden off.

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Lily Vittayarukskul, started college at 14 and collaborated with NASA at 16, she founded Waterlily after a personal experience with a long-term care event in her family. This experience, combined with her Data Science degree from UC Berkeley and a decade in healthcare, including leading roles in startups focusing on product development and engineering, inspired her to create Waterlily. Her goal: to simplify the complexities families face in caring for their elderly loved ones.

Importance of Planning For Long-Term Care

Lily and her siblings had to navigate their mother’s care themselves, such as the physical caregiving hours and research on how to attend to her care needs because the doctors weren’t giving enough specific instructions. This caused her to spend out of pocket money, as it turns out it wasn’t covered by their health insurance. Lily started her company, Waterlily, to try and help families plan their long-term care. She realized there’s always a lack of emotional, psychological, and aligned perspectives when conversing with our aging parents. Planning ahead of time is significant because it could cause more tension and strain in relationships if not addressed properly.

Knowing The Best Time

In the wealth management industry, they have existing planning infrastructure for long-term care, which is rare for most industries, including healthcare. They bring up the topic of retirement and long-term care with any of their clients who are in their 40s or 60s; it’s said to be the optimal time to create a conversation surrounding this. Given how costly it can be, we may want to strategically think about how we would be able to financially support our parents, or even if you have enough, they should be aware of how to use those resources. Taking care of our aging parents is going to happen eventually.

The Costs of Long-Term Care

Intuitively, we take care of people all the time, whether it’s our own children, nieces, siblings, friends, or even our fur babies. We have at least taken care of someone or something. We intuitively understand what it takes to sustainably attend to someone’s care. Lily shares how surprised she was to find out her medical insurance does not cover her mother’s care—many people assume Medicare is going to take care of everything. For instance, when someone gets into an accident that requires them to be sent into a hospital and then rehabilitated, it is covered only for up to 100 days; the rest of the time, especially if it becomes a permanent disability, you may have to pay for it out of pocket. You may develop cognitive issues as you grow older, too.

Different Long-Term Care Choices

In Lily’s company, they have broken down the different choices for elderly parents. They will have to create their foundation first by asking questions about how many hours of care they need and for how long they may need care. From there, they will break this down to the level of care needed. They use the term “activities of daily living (ADLs)” to know which category they belong to.

ADL is an activity you need to be able to consider independent, such as being able to walk across the room or get out of bed. If you have one to two ADLs, they call it the “early care phase.” It’s important for them to break this down because of the difference in the environment they may want to age in (community center, nursing home—they all have different requirements for the level of care needed). It’s also helpful to break down those three sections because you can get a lot more precise with budgeting too.

How does planning for your parents' long-term care fit into your retirement savings strategy?

  • Lily: talking and planning with her siblings
  • Jill: discussing the financial side of things
  • Jen: having financial conversations

Bill of The Week

Thank you Lily for sharing your bill about paying dollar bill cash for purchasing items on FB marketplace!

Thanks so Much for Listening!

Thanks so much for listening. Many of you know we have a newsletter called The Friendletter that goes out 3x a week where we send out freebies, saving tips, and life hacks to help you save money. We want to give a shout out to this friend for sending us this sweet email last week:


I hope this finds you and Jill well! I just listened to your latest episode on contentment and I really appreciated your vulnerability lightning round pertaining to motherhood as well as your thoughts on contentment pertaining to parenthood throughout the episode. [.....] Love the podcast and am so encouraged every time I listen to you both. You are both so inspiring and it makes me feel like I am not alone in my debt payoff journey. I also really appreciate the email encouragement for no-spend January to keep me motivated and reminded of why I'm doing this. Thanks!

Thanks for listening if you want freebies, saving tips, and values-based spending hacks sent to your inbox every week head to frugalfriendspodcast.com/friendletter to get the goodies! And if you already get the friendletter start sharing it with your friends to get more free goodies!

And don’t forget to share your favorite quote from the episode by using the hashtag #FrugalFriendsNote. 😉

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