A Two-Part Guide to Long-Term Care

According to statistics cited in Morningstar, 52 percent of people turning 65 will need long-term care services in their lifetime. Many of those people will need at least 1.5 years of long-term care, and about 14 percent of all people will need it for longer than five years.

This means that, statistically speaking, you will need long-term care at some point in your life for longer than a year. The rising prices of long-term care and the statistical probability of needing it can make planning for the future difficult and overwhelming.

No one wants to think about having to pay tens of thousands of dollars at some point in their lives, but not planning for the costs can have severe and long-term consequences. At Home Senior Services shares some items you need to consider when planning for the costs in our guide to long-term care.

Determining How Much Care You’ll Need

Before you can figure out how to pay for long-term care, you need to figure out how much you’ll need. As we previously discussed, over half of all Americans over 65 will need long-term care. If you’re a woman, your odds are slightly higher. It’s smart to plan as if you are going to use the service, even if you never need it.

To figure out how much long-term care you might need in the future, you should look at your current health and your family history of health issues. If your parents needed long-term care, it is very likely that you will too. If you don’t know about your family’s past health, you might want to get DNA tested.

Of course, there are many things you can do to reduce your chance of needing long-term care. Taking care of yourself and adopting strategies to stay healthy can lower your chance of needing some form of assisted living care.

Parent Giving recommends staying active, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and keeping all health appointments. Home modifications to help prevent falls are also important. Falls and injuries are the top reasons seniors end up needing long-term care, so preventing them now is essential to avoiding those potential future care costs.

Determining How You’ll Pay for It

Because most seniors will need long-term care during their lifetime, it is essential to decide how you are going to cover the cost. According to Kiplinger, only the very wealthy can usually count on covering the costs themselves. One option many seniors take is selling their home to help pay for long-term care. It’s possible to boost the appraisal value of the property by completing a few renovations to rooms like the kitchen and bathroom, both of which have been shown to have high returns of investment as homebuyers check out the premises. Be sure to bring in qualified and insured contractors to handle larger projects involving plumbing and electrical. Research these pros online, and read up on customer reviews to make sure they’re legitimate and trustworthy.

When selling your home, you’ll first need to do your homework. Find out how much equity you have and how much profit you can make by selling your current home; you can easily and conveniently use an online home sale proceeds calculator to determine the amount. With this information in hand, plan on where you’ll want to call home, and if it’s a new, downsized house, research the market to see what you can afford.

Medicare might cover some of the costs for you if you have very little income, but getting Medicare to take care of all the costs of long-term care is difficult and not an option for many. Luckily, there are some options to help you pay for any long-term care you might need. Long-term care insurance is a popular option. This type of insurance is designed to help pay for nursing home or in-home health care should you need it in the future. While you might never use this insurance, it can prevent you from incurring bills you are unable to pay in the future.

Determining whether or not long-term care insurance is for you can be somewhat complicated. However, we recommend seriously looking into insurance programs if you make too much money for Medicare to cover your costs, but too little to be able to pay for it entirely by yourself.

Of course, there are other options as well, such as annuities. However, many of these options are particularly helpful when used on top of long-term care insurance.

The majority of Americans 65 and over will need long-term care at some point in their lives, so making plans to pay for this care ahead of time is essential. We recommend exploring your options, including budgeting now and looking into long-term care insurance policies. There are things you can do today that can help you before it’s too late.

Contact us today at At Home Senior Services if you have any questions about our two-part guide to long-term care. We are happy to help!

by Andrea Needham of eldersday.org

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