The long-term care decision that faces us as we get older can be quite complex, not to mention off-putting. But arming yourself with as much knowledge as possible, as early as possible, will be critical to your success in finding a long-term care solution that is affordable and comfortable. Don’t plan and you could end up financially ruined with no place to go.
Let’s look at a couple of things you should think about. First, how can you start to plan and anticipate your long-term care needs? And second, how can you start planning now for the costs associated with the care?
What Do My Long-Term Care Needs Look Like?
One way to assess your potential need is to have a clear understanding of current trends. These must-know statistics will help.
By 2050, it’s expected that 15 million people will need long-term care.
Reportedly, 52.3 percent of people turning 65 will likely have a long-term care need during their lifetime.
Nearly 40 percent of Americans over the age 85 will have Alzheimer’s.
Two years is the average length of care needed.
Americans paid $225 billion for long-term care in 2015.
$82,215 is the annual cost for a semi-private room as of 2015. If you want to go private, it can nearly double.
So, how can you reduce your risk of requiring long-term care? According to the Administration on Aging, here are some ways you can reduce your long-term care risk.
Eat a healthy diet. This will help prevent diabetes, which often leads to long-term care.
Try to avoid high blood pressure by losing weight, eating healthy, cutting back on salt, exercising, and limiting alcohol.
Know your family history so you manage your health to avoid such diseases.
Lack of exercise is linked to an increased need for long-term care.
Accidents, like falls increase your risk of needing care. Be sure to remove hazards from your home. Remove rugs, declutter, install grab bars, provide ample light, live on one level, and wear shoes.
Essentially, statistics tell us that our chances of needing long-term care are about 50/50. If you’re a female, up that number a bit. That number also increases over the age of 65.
Who Can Care for You and How Will You Pay for It?
Aside from having a family member who is fully willing to provide you with long-term care at no cost, which is a heavy burden on any family, you’re going to have to be prepared to pay expenses related to long-term care. These senior services include a personalized caregiver, a home health service, adult daycare, or a long-term care facility.
First, according to the Department of Health & Human Services, Medicare will pay for long-term care if you require skilled services or rehabilitative care, with a maximum stay of 100 days. And in-home services are covered for a short period of time if you are also receiving skilled home health or other skilled in-home services. Medicaid, on the other hand, will pay for long-term care, but only if you fall below a certain income threshold.
Second, most people will need to rely on a saving/insurance plan for long-term care, so you should start researching those plans now and setting aside a budget to pay for them. According to AARP, here are the factors you should consider.
Age: Policies will cost less if you buy them while you’re younger.
Premiums: What can you set aside in your budget?
Income: If your income is low, purchasing insurance may not be a good idea.
Financial Advisor: A good advisor can help you devise ways to save for long-term care.
Taxes: They can also help understand the tax law implications.
It’s easy to put off long-term care planning. Most of us don’t want to think about aging and needing assistance. However, by preparing early, you won’t just be saving money, you’ll be saving a whole lot of headaches at a time in your life when you need to focus on wellness, not what you failed to do. So get planning!