The new year is a time for making resolutions! The focus of these resolutions for many Americans may be on health, fitness, and work-related goals. For Older Americans, though, these resolutions may be related to retirement, health care needs, and the cost of long-term care. As we age we do not know what our future may hold, therefore, we should plan now for any future health or long-term care needs.
Many of the seniors and their families that we talk to are not prepared for the costs of long-term care. They mistakenly believe that Medicare and supplemental health care insurance policies will fully cover the need for rehabilitative treatment, home health aides, and even custodial care. What they do not understand is that most of the health care coverage available to seniors today is focused on an acute health care system and this system will not be able to meet their needs should they require long-term care in the future.
Further, until they talk to us, many do not realize that the cost of long-term care continues to rise in America. A recent article shared that these costs are up over five percent from last year and over fifty percent since 2004. Unfortunately, it is not a surprise that the cost of a skilled nursing home is an amount that very few Older Americans can afford in their monthly budget.
You and your senior loved ones may be asking yourselves how does someone plan for both the future, and in addition, a future that could include the need for long-term care. Let us share with you three of the tips on planning for the rising cost of long-term care that we provide our clients, friends, family, and the professionals we work with in our community.
- Learn how much long-term care costs in your state. It is true that nothing helps you to be prepared more than preparation itself! This certainly holds true when it comes to long-term care costs. What you may not realize, however, is that these costs can vary from state-to-state and even section-by-section within a state. The costs may also vary based on the type of care you need. We encourage you to click this link to the Genworth Cost of Long-Term Care Study to determine cost of care in our state based on the type of care you anticipate you may need in the future.
- Honestly evaluate your resources. In most places, right now, the cost of a semi-private room in a skilled nursing facility is between $8,000 and $10,000 per month. The cost of a room in an assisted living facility is between $4,500 and $6,000 per month. Can you afford the cost of long-term care right now in your monthly budget? Would it leave you, your spouse, or even your children, destitute after a period of time? How much assistance would you need each month, and how quickly would you need it? Your elder law attorney can help you evaluate your own circumstances and together you can develop a plan that can address these needs.
- Consider the legacy you want to leave. Planning for long-term care is not just about planning for the costs, it is also about protecting your legacy. What legacy do you want to leave to your children and grandchildren? Are there charities and causes that you want to support? Without careful planning, the need for long-term care can eliminate any type of legacy you wish to create for yourself and your loved ones. Discuss this with your elder law attorney so that together you may develop a plan.
There is never a wrong time to begin planning for long-term care. We often hear from our clients that they simply “feel too young” but nothing can be further from the truth. In fact, planning early is critical to make the most of the long-term care benefits available. Do not wait to contact our office to schedule a meeting to ask your questions about long-term care.