Long-Term Care: The Costs and How You Can Prepare
Most of us don’t want to think about the possibility of needing long-term care later in life, but that doesn’t make it any less important. The costs can be astronomical, and it’s good to have plans in place to ensure we can afford the extra care we may need as we get older. Thankfully, there are ways you can learn what costs you might be able to expect, and how you can prepare for them well ahead of time. Care at Heart presents a few things to consider.
Likelihood of Long-Term Care
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, seniors today have a 70 percent chance of needing long-term care after they reach the age of 65. Unfortunately, that means we will most likely need some sort of long-term care at some point in our lives. There are other signs you can look for to see if your risks are higher, or lower. What sort of lifestyle do you lead? Do you exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet?
It’s also important to understand your genetic ancestry. You may have a familial history of conditions such as Alzheimer’s, or even cancer, that may increase your risk for long-term care later in life. You can get tested to determine whether you carry the genes that lead to this increased risk.
Thankfully, with testing, you can not only decrease the likelihood of care, but also of developing these conditions, despite any genetic history.
Preventing the Necessity
The more active you are, the less likely it is that you may need extended help as you age. Our lifestyle has a direct link to our health, even when other family members have developed hereditary conditions. Additionally, the more fit you are, the less likely you are to have an accident or go through an illness that could lead to long-term care.
Lastly, take a look at the home you plan on retiring in. Is it multi-story? Are the floors even? Are the doorways easily accessible for wheelchairs or walkers? Are the bathrooms safe and easy to use? A modified, accessible home may lead to less accidents, which, in turn, can lower the risk of future care being needed. Even something simple, like putting in grab bars in the shower or around the toilet, can increase stability. Of course, there are plenty of other ways to modify a home to make it safer.
Determine Your Position
As SmartAsset.com explains, rarely does insurance cover all our needs when it comes to long-term care. Even Medicaid and Medicare fall short when it comes to getting you the enduring assistance you would need. Assisted living can cost tens of thousands or more each year.
Before you start planning, you need to consider how close you are to retirement. What savings do you have, and what funds can you expect to receive when you do stop working, either from social security, a 401k, or a pension? Will this be enough to afford insurance, or cover the potential costs out of pocket?
Handling the Costs
You need to decide whether or not the insurance available will be worth the price. It can be expensive, but so is the care. How else can you pay for it, should the worst happen? Some life insurance policies allow you to put a future payout toward medical care in the here and now, but there are other methods as well.
A reverse mortgage can be an option, but so could be selling your home to help cover costs. Consider the current average listing prices in your area to see if this is a good solution. The profit on a home sale could be enough to cover years of fees, with some left over. If you’re curious to see how much you could possibly make from the sale of your home, you can use a home sale proceeds calculator to give you a rough estimate.
It’s scary to think about, but we all need to plan now. No matter how excellent our health and genetic history might be, accidents can still happen. Knowing what options you have and how you might be able to pay for long-term care, either for yourself or a loved one, is an important step as you prepare to enter your golden years. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
Care at Heart provides the exact type of home care services your loved one needs. Call us today at (610) 765-0497 to learn how we can help you.
Article Credit: Kent Elliot
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