According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, today’s retirees have a nearly 70 percent chance of needing long-term care at some point in their lives.1 Long-term care is often needed because of cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, but it can also be needed for a wide range of other issues related to stroke, cancer, heart disease and more.
Many people think of long-term care as the kind that’s provided in a nursing home. However, long-term care is a much broader term that refers to a wide range of support. For example, it may consist of skilled nursing care, but it also could consist of custodial services like bathing, cleaning and meal preparation.
It’s impossible to predict what kind of care you might need. However, the likelihood that you will need care is so high that the risk can’t be ignored. If you haven’t planned for long-term care, now may be the time to do so. Below are a few questions to ask yourself to get started:
Who can you rely on for support?
Long-term care often begins gradually with assistance from friends and family. It could start with someone helping you run errands or doing chores around the house. You may need assistance with mobility. Perhaps you’ll need help getting to and from doctor’s appointments. Consider which friends and family or what services are available to help with these needs.
Also consider that as your needs progress, however, your family may not be able to help with everything. They likely have their own needs and responsibilities and may not be able to spend significant amounts of time assisting you. It’s also possible that your spouse or other loved ones may have their own health challenges. For example, they may not have the strength to help you from a bed into a wheelchair or out of the shower.
Many people transition from family assistance to professional care over time. While you may be able to count on family and friends in the early stages of long-term care, you’ll likely have to pay for care eventually.
Do you want to stay in your home or move to a facility?
Long-term care is usually provided either in the home or in an assisted living facility. Of course, many seniors prefer to receive care in their home as long as possible. If you want to stay in your home, it’s important to plan in advance. Your home may require modifications for safety and medical equipment, like a hospital bed or grab bars in the bathroom. You also may need to hire a health aide on a full-time or part-time basis.
It’s important to note that Medicare and Medicaid usually don’t cover in-home care services. If you don’t have the ability to pay for care, you may be forced to use Medicaid, in which case you may have no choice but to move into a Medicaid-eligible facility. Planning and preparation can help you stay in your home longer.
How will you pay for care?
This is the biggest question every senior faces. No matter where care is provided, it’s usually costly. According to a 2018 study from Genworth, full-time care provided in the home or in an assisted living facility costs an average of $4,000 per month. A room in a nursing home can cost more than $7,000 per month.2
Many seniors need care for several months or even years. Consider how those costs may add up over a long period of time. It’s easy to see why so many retirees struggle to afford care.
You may want to consider long-term care insurance as a funding strategy. You pay premiums today in exchange for future coverage for long-term care costs. Most policies cover care either in the home or in a facility. Some will even cover home modifications or reimbursements to family members for care services. A financial professional can help you find the right policy for your needs and budget.
Ready to plan your long-term care funding strategy? Let’s talk about it. Contact us today at Scott & Associates of Texas. We can help you analyze your needs and develop a strategy. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.
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18148 – 2018/10/17