Will You Be Ready If You Need Long-Term Care Down the Road?

Most of us would like to believe we could remain active and independent throughout our lives.  However, there is a good chance you will need long-term care at some point in the future.  What will you do if you or a loved one requires long-term care?  How will you pay for it, and what plans do you have in place?

Covering the costs of long-term care

While you might like to think you will never need to rely on a caregiver or stay in a facility, according to Forbes, half of all Americans will require long-term care at some point in life.  Long-term care isn’t cheap, so it’s important to have a plan in place to cover the costs.  Studies cited by Genworth put the national median monthly cost for long-term care in a nursing home at $7,148.  That’s with a semi-private room; for a private room, the cost rises to $8,121.  Annually, costs total $85,775 for a semi-private room, and $97,455 for a private room. 

Many people purchase long-term care insurance to cover the costs of care, which is best done while you are younger since premiums rise with age.  Some people elect to sell their homes to cover the costs of long-term care.  If that’s an option you would consider, keep in mind homes in Glendale, Arizona, sold for an average price of $234,000 in the last month.  When comparing choices, consider these questions:

  • How close are you to retirement age?  The less time you have until retirement, the more vigorously you need to save toward long-term care expenses.
  • What savings or insurance programs are available to you now to help pay for long-term care?  For example, if you are still employed disability insurance might replace a portion of any income lost due to debilitating circumstances. 
  • How do you plan on paying for the costs of long-term care?  Many people expect to rely on a spouse or another family member to help tend to their needs, but some types of long-term care require trained medical personnel. 

Likelihood and long-term care

How likely is it you or someone you love will require long-term care?  Sometimes people have issues, which raise the risk of requiring care.  Ask yourself these questions to help assess risks and anticipate the potential you or your loved ones will need long-term care:

  • What lifestyle choices are you engaging in now and how do they affect your risk of serious injury?  As an example, certain hobbies are particularly risky, such as hot air ballooning, scuba diving and skiing.   
  • Should you take steps to reduce the potential onset of a debilitating illness?  For instance, if you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, there are lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent type 2 diabetes from developing. 
  • Are there any home modifications you should make?  Altering your living environment can help you to safely remain home and independent.  You might need to eliminate tripping hazards such as throw rugs and alter an entryway so you don’t need to step over a threshold to get into your home. 
  • Do certain illnesses or health conditions tend to run in your family?  Being aware of your family health history can help you monitor your own health better.  Some issues potentially run in families such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.  You might be able to make lifestyle changes to help postpone or avoid those issues, or participate in proactive medical testing to stay alert to concerns. 

None of us would like to believe we’ll need long-term care.  Statistics say it’s important to have a plan in place should a need for care arise.  Be aware of your own risks, take steps to address concerns and know what you will do if you or a loved one requires care.

Author

After losing her husband Greg, Sara Bailey created TheWidow.net to support her fellow widows and widowers. She is also the author of the upcoming book Hope and Help After Loss: A Guide For Newly Widowed Parents.

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