When To Consider Long-Term Care

As we age, we all want to ensure that we do so in health, with enough assets to live comfortably and with our independence intact.

But as life-expectancy increases, more and more Americans are finding it difficult to meet all three criteria.

Long-term care is becoming more and more necessary for people and they’re discovering that they need to plan for old age more stringently.

A 2011 market survey of long-term care costs cited that the “national average daily rate for a private room in a nursing home rose 4.4% from 2010 to 2011. At the same time, the national average monthly base rate in an assisted living community rose 5.6% from $3,293 in 2010 to $3,477 in 2011.”

For family caregivers, these cost increases are posing difficult financial, emotional and even logistical issues. Paying for long-term care for someone with even minor health issues can quickly debilitate a bank account. That’s why it’s vital to look into long-term care and consider how you will afford to pay for care early on – before it becomes a necessity.

How to Pay for Long-Term Care

There are generally four ways to pay for long-term care: Medicare, Medicaid, personal funding, or long-term care insurance. Medicare is undergoing a sea change right now due to the recent Health Care Bill, but even so, expect strict requirements to qualify. Medicaid is for the low-income individuals. Long-term care insurance (LTCI) is often the only way to ensure that you will be able to receive the kind of care you need without relying on personal assets to secure it for you.

Younger and Healthier is Cheaper

The fact is, the younger and healthier you are when you look into long-term care insurance, the cheaper it will be. As NPR recently put it, “Waiting To Buy Long-Term Care Insurance Adds Up.” Of course, the type of care and facility will also determine cost, and cost further varies by state. If staying in your community or close to family is important, then look into costs before your health dictates needs.

Long-term care insurance is like any other insurance. Like life insurance, health insurance, and home insurance, LTCI is a safeguard against disaster and the unknown. But strangely, few people plan for long-term care. However, suddenly finding yourself in the position of requiring long-term care and not being able to pay for it can have devastating consequences. Lack of planning can quickly eat through your precious savings and can cause unwanted strain on family members. And it can all be avoided with a little foresight.

Where to Live Later in Life

Changing cityscapes have opened up some new possibilities of where to consider living later in life. Many people are choosing to think of their later years as another adventure, and are looking for cities that allow them the freedom and flexibility to live their lives and still have access to great services and care at lower costs. CBS Moneywatch just ran a piece on The 10 Best Places to Retire that’s done a lot of the research for you.

Location Aside…

In addition to knowing that you’re in the right city, you also want to give some thought to the kind of care you might need. Get to know what’s covered in the various types of care. For example, if home care isn’t an option, some assisted living facilities offer complete care alternatives and also house a nursing home wing. Senior retirement communities also offer many services, some including home care options.  Plan now for long term care plan you desire, before your elder years are upon you.

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