The right plan, the right way, at the right time
At least 70% of people over 65 will need some form of long term care services and support at some point.
2014 Medicare & You, National Medicare Handbook. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, September 2013
Long Term Care is one of the most pressing issues and likely the greatest retirement expense facing Americans today– it will only get more urgent as the nation ages. While people are living longer, many have little idea about the added pressures on their “long life care”– fiscally and emotionally. Those who had planned to tap their hard-earned nest egg to cover the future long term cost of care may face a shock.
- By 2030 there will be about 72.1 million older persons, more than twice their number in 2000. - Dept. of Health and Human Serices, Administration on Aging, May 2013
- The cost of long term care in the U.S. continually rises – Genworth Financial Cost of Care Survey, conducted by CareScout, April 2013
- The national average median cost of one year in a private nursing home room is $83,950 – Genworth Financial Cost of Care Survey, conducted by CareScout, April 2013
It is never too soon and almost always better to have talked and made plans in advance. Talk with your parents, spouse or partner and family. Having the right plan in place now can help make sure your loved one has the financial resources to cover the exorbitant costs while receiving the right quality of care. It will help them maintain their dignity and provide the flexibility to participate in making choices that impact their care.
It’s important to consider care options while a person is healthy. That’s when the best rates and options are available and families are in much better emotional shape to discuss long term care-related planning. The simple truth is that during a crisis, situations can quickly escalate and cause tension or introduce issues that could have otherwise been avoided.
While there is much to gain by talking as soon as possible, there’s a staggering amount to lose if we miss the chance. Here are just a few things you should know now, rather than discovering them the hard way later:
- Health insurance and Medicare cover minimal if any of the cost of nursing homes, assisted-living facilities or in-home care– the care many people require late in life. Many people pay out of pocket until they have depleted their assets.
- Without a durable power of attorney you may have to go to court to gain guardianship over your parent so you can handle his or her affairs if they become incompetent. Guardianship is necessary so you can handle your parent’s affairs. Going to court is expensive, time-consuming and stressful.
- A loved one’s health status can change over night. It’s better to have long term care plans and insurance in place prior to their health taking a turn. At that point it may be cost prohibitive or simply may no longer be an option due to the age or health of the person who will need care or coverage.
- Many of the best care facilities have waiting lists, and some of them require that your parent be able to live independently in order to move in.
- Sometimes it is not the big health problems that ruin the golden years, but the smaller annoyances– the inability to pursue a loved hobby, the difficulty hearing, or the fear of falling. When you talk, try to get at these less obvious issues too, as many of them can be resolved.