The Best Advice for Planning to Meet Your Need for Long-Term Care
How likely do you think it is that you or a loved one will require long-term care? If there is a need for long-term care, how will you meet it? Here is important information for planning for your future should a need for long-term care arise.
Paying for long-term care
Many people give little thought to long-term care. However, Governing indicates 50 percent of those 65 and over will need long-term care at some point, and long-term care costs can drain your financial reserves. With this in mind, it’s easy to see how important it is to establish a plan to pay for long-term care. Ask yourself these questions to help you decide how you could pay for long-term care:
- How close are you to retirement? The closer you are to retirement age, the more quickly you need to accumulate savings to cover long-term care costs.
- What are the savings and insurance programs available to you right now to help pay for long-term care? For instance, long-term care insurance is designed specifically to cover long-term care costs. If you are still working at the time you develop a need for long-term care, you might be able to take advantage of a disability insurance plan through your employer. A health savings account (HSA) is another option for paying certain long-term care expenses.
- How do you plan on paying long-term care expenses? Some people sell their homes to help pay for long-term care. If that is an option you’re considering, you should first calculate your home’s value to see how much it can sell for. Though consulting a real estate agent is ideal, using an online tool is a good place to start and can generate a nearly accurate figure. The results are pulled from the values of nearby homes that have sold recently. You might have other assets you could liquidate such as an extra vehicle, vacation property, or retirement funds. Your unique circumstances, options and potential ramifications on taxes and estates should be discussed with an elderly law attorney or financial planner.
Planning for long-term care
Most of us would rather believe we would not require long-term care. It’s important to understand several factors that can contribute to the use of long-term care, and the National Institute on Aging points out a need for long-term care can arise suddenly such as following an accident or stroke. How do you know whether you or someone you love might need assistance? To better assess the potential you or a family member will require long-term care, ask yourself these questions:
- What lifestyle choices are you making now that might increase your risk for requiring care? For instance, there are many potential negative health consequences from a habit such as cigarette smoking. Cigarettes put you at higher risk for issues such as stroke, lung cancer, heart disease, and emphysema.
- In what ways can you reduce your risk of injury or onset of illness? Losing weight, for example, can often mean lowering serious health risks. Aside from weight management, staying on top of your overall health care can prevent many health issues. That means going to all your doctor appointments and sticking to your treatment plans. If you feel that your current insurance plan is lacking the necessary benefits, look into an expanded care plan like Medicare Advantage, which you’ll find from insurance companies like Aetna. You can choose a plan that covers prescriptions, dental care, wellness programs, and other essential benefits.
- Are there any home modifications you need to make? As Bob Vila explains, homes designed in accordance with aging in place concepts better support people when mobility becomes limited due to age or changes in physical or mental condition.
- re there hereditary illnesses or conditions that might impact you? Looking into your family history can help you stay alert to early signs of health issues and adjust accordingly.
Long-term care can seem far away, but circumstances can change in the blink of an eye. Be aware of your potential need and think through how you would cover costs. You might never need long-term care, but having a plan in place can give you and your loved one’s peace of mind.