This article was written for Hope Senior Home Care’s blog by Hazel Bridges. Hazel is the creator of AgingWellness.org, a website that aims to provide health and wellness resources for aging seniors. She’s a breast cancer survivor. She challenges herself to live life to the fullest and inspire others to do so as well. We are proud to feature Hazel and encourage you to take a look at her website for even more information and resources.
Planning and Paying for Long-Term Care Rest in Your Hands
Of the three major economic classes of Americans, the one that gets hit the hardest for long-term care is the middle class. The wealthy class has the privilege of affording their own care, while the lowest income citizens have the assistance of Medicaid to pay for their medical and long-term needs. Although seniors receive Medicare benefits for healthcare, the coverage doesn’t typically extend to long-term care. That’s an area where most of us are on our own.
Planning for Long-Term
Aging seniors and those with disabilities need long-term care (LTC) the most. In some cases, LTC comes after accidents that cause long-term injury. Since Medicare only covers 100-day stays, the rest is up to you to cover. The costs might go to home health aides, nursing homes, adult daycare centers, or assisted living facilities. AARP has a calculator can help you figure out the cost of long-term care.
Medicaid can come to the rescue for individuals who have depleted their assets, but that doesn’t cover the middle class that’s stuck in the middle: not enough money to pay for the extra costs, but too much money to qualify for low-income assistance.
The people seeking LTC are either seniors in need or family members who have become caregivers and medical decision-makers for their aging parents. The latter is also known as an adult child influencer (ACI). There might come a time when ACIs don’t have the ability to care for their elderly parents or grandparents. A skilled nurse might be needed, or the family might need help paying for the extra costs.
If you decide to purchase long-term care Insurance before you reach seniorhood, think about starting early. Any age after 50 is a good time to consider taking out a policy, but understand that the premiums increase with age. As CNBC reports, “A 55-year-old man would pay an average annual premium of $1,870 while a 65-year-old pays $2,460, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. Women pay more: $2,965 for age 55 and $4,270 for age 65.” The closer you are to the age that you’ll need long-term care, the more you’ll have to pay for the insurance. However, the longer you’re paying for LTC without needing it, the more you’ll pay over time. You might end up spending the same amount in the long run.
Paying for Long-Term Care
Maybe long-term care Insurance is no longer an option at this point in your life and you have to find immediate ways to subsidize this cost of living. With many retirement-age people still working to cover basic living expenses, the thought of paying for additional costs is unfathomable. When you have shelter and food to worry about, forget about trying to afford long-term care. Retirement used to mean a cushy life with a pension and vacations. Today’s seniors from the “baby boom” era no longer have savings and nest eggs, little to no benefits from their professions, longer life expectancies, bad investments, increased healthcare costs, and inflation. To make matters worse, some of them never recovered from the 2008 recession.
As a retiree in 2018, it might be time to tap into other resources to fund your long-term care. One such viable option is selling your home. Perhaps you were hoping to leave your home to family members. While it is caring and generous to leave property to loved ones, your own care and living needs should be prioritized. If you decide to go this route, make sure you’re up to date on current home sales trends in your area. Homes in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, for instance, have sold for an average of $304,000 in the last month. Considering the costs of long-term care, the money from a house sale would pay for care and other retirement costs.
The best way to pay for long-term care is to have a plan in place before it’s needed. Adults with aging parents should sit down and have a serious discussion about how to cover these needs in the future. Adults getting closer to their retirement years should make their own plan. The more prepared you are now, the less you’ll worry about later.
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