Don’t Be Caught Off Guard by Long Term Care Costs by Guest Blogger Laura Rossman
“Don’t Be Caught Off Guard by Long Term Care Costs by Guest Blogger Laura Rossman
As you hit a certain age – usually in your 50s – you start hearing more and more about long term care. Thought a lot in your life about day care, but not long term care.
And frankly, it’s not a comforting discussion.
It usually starts with a friend relaying what happened when they “got the call.” The call they are referring to is from a family member or doctor or hospital that Mom or Dad has been whisked off to the hospital. It appears it was a stroke…or a serious fall…or heart attack.
Life has just gotten more complicated. And very few of us have planned for this life event.
It doesn’t have to be this way. With a bit of planning we can be better prepared. It will still be an emotional event, but we will have some information and tools to guide us through this next stage of life.
Long term care refers to care that you need with everyday activities of living – dressing, eating, going to the store, or simply getting around. You may need care because of a medical condition, like a stroke, or Parkinson’s or MS, or because of cognitive issues such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.
This type of care is not covered by Medicare (except following a hospital stay and rehabilitation). So if you have financial assets, you will be paying out of your pocket for the cost of care. And it can be costly. Here are the average costs nationally for long term care as reported by the MetLife Mature Market Institute: your area might be even more:
- Private nursing home cost $239 per day – $87,235 per year
- Assisted living – average $3,477 per month – $41,724 year
- Adult Day Services – $70 per day
- Home health aides ($21) and homemakers ($19)
If your loved one is in need of care now, you’ll have to pull together financial resources and possibly family care to get them the care they need. But what can you do now, for yourself, to prepare for your long term care future?
Engage in some planning for long term care. Just as you think about what you want to do in retirement and how much it will cost to live when you no longer have a paycheck; take some time now to prepare a plan for how you would want to receive long term care and how your family will pay for it.
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
1. Talk with your spouse, adult children, friends, and siblings about what you would like to see happen if you need long term care services. Do you want to stay at home or move to a facility where care is provided? Who will take care of you?
2. Talk with your financial planner, insurance agent, attorney or any other financial advisor about how you would pay for long term care services. They’ll be able to provide you with some context about how these costs fit into your current financial situation.
3. Figure out now how will you pay for long term care? Is long term care insurance the right option for you? Do you have money set aside in your retirement funds earmarked for potential long term care costs? Would a reverse mortgage be a good option for me? If you never need it, great. But if you do need long term care, your family will have the resources to provide the care you want in the way you wanted.
4. Read up now on long term care, retirement care communities and long term care insurance. And write out a plan for how you want long term care provided and paid for. That way when the call comes you’ll be ready to help family, friends, spouse or siblings. And if you are the one in need of care, you’ll have a written plan that your family will be able to follow.
The odds that you will face a long term crisis in your family are high. More than 70% of people over the age of 65 need long term care services in their lifetime. There are more than 43 million caregivers providing care for someone over 50 and more than 14.9 million people helping care for someone with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
So if you are a baby boomer who has not tackled this topic, don’t procrastinate any more. The long term care planning you do today can pay off handsomely in less stress and confusion for your family when the time comes. That’s a gift they’ll appreciate for the rest of your life.”
With over 20 years in health and senior care services, Laura Rossman heads up marketing and communications for iQuote by Longevity Alliance, an independent national insurance broker who helps seniors compare long term health care insurance as well as Medicare supplement and advantage plans.
Don’t struggle with emotional or physical issues alone. Schedule an appointment at DrEricaWellness.com to receive a coaching session, a private Rubenfeld Synergy/body awareness session, or counseling.