We all like to think that we can continue to care for ourselves long after the gray has set in, but this, unfortunately, isn’t always the case. With age, comes decreased mobility, a higher prevalence of falls and disease, and an overall increased need for extra help. This all equates to a likelihood that you will need some form of long-term care, so it’s best to start planning now.
Anticipating Long-Term Care
Who or What Will Help?
According to Forbes, 18 million adults age 65 and older say they need help with daily activities, and that’s a lot of time and money that must be dedicated to their well-being. It’s easy to assume a spouse, partner, or child will provide the care, but caregiving is hard work, especially if you are dealing with chronic disease such as Alzheimer’s or require around-the-clock care due to mobility or cognitive decline.
The care you need depends on the degree of need, and you may find that you need long-term care assistance such as:
In-Home Care – help with daily tasks (i.e. cooking, grooming, walking)
Adult Day Care – supervised care during the day for those who can’t be alone during the day (services include meals, socialization, and healthcare)
Assisted Living – facility comprised of private rooms, multi-units, or apartments where around-the-clock care is provided
Are You Taking Preemptive Steps?
No one can predict the future, and this includes determining whether you will need long-term care. However, the way you are living your life can have an impact. Americans are living longer, and with it comes an increased risk for disease, making it important to lead a healthy lifestyle. Start a fitness routine, even if it’s just going for one or two daily walks, and cut out late-night snacks. If you have a family history of disease, try to stay on top of doctor visits and preventative care.
Loneliness is another issue older adults face, which can lead to a decline in health. Incorporate positivity in life via meditation, socialization, or even a furry friend. Pets have been shown to lower the risk of developing heart disease. Plus, it’s hard to feel lonely with a four-legged around, and the daily walks will definitely keep you moving.
Planning How to Pay
Make Your Insurance Work For You
Long-term care doesn’t come without a price tag, so how are you supposed to afford it? Chances are you have a life insurance policy, but did you know you can sell it? This transaction is referred to as a life settlement, and it is commonly used by people who are over 65 and/or have a medical condition. The cash from the sale can be used to cover daily living expenses and long-term care. Another insurance-related option is a Medicare Advantage plan, which will provide the benefits of Medicare Part A and B plus additional benefits such as dental, vision, and prescription coverage (all things that become an issue as you age). Having coverage for routine health care, in addition to the low premiums, causes less of a financial burden should you need long-term care.
Take Advantage of Overlooked Funds
There are various payment options for long-term care, one of which is private pay such as pensions, interest income, cash, savings, stocks/bonds, or payments from an IRA or 401(k). However, it is important that you don’t rely on these sources completely, especially if you will need to fund long-term care over a lengthy period of time. In this instance, you might consider long-term care insurance, but many companies will only approve you if you are under the age of 84 and don’t have any pre-existing conditions such as issues with memory, mobility, chronic disease, etc. This insurance is best purchased sooner rather than later.
Chances are you will need some form of long-term care during your lifetime. It is best to plan ahead now to avoid a headache later. Take preemptive measures and make payment plans now so that you can get the care you need when you need it.