Long-Term Care: Have You Made Plans?

A guest blog post by June Duncan.

June Duncan is a caregiver herself and is the co-creator of Rise Up for Caregivers. She’s passionate about helping and supporting her fellow caregivers, which inspired her to author her upcoming book, The Complete Guide to Caregiving: A Daily Companion for New Senior Caregivers.  

Life is full of plans – planning a move, planning a family expansion, planning a vacation, planning for retirement – but have you made plans for long-term care? Age brings reduced physical and mental health, all of which play into the likelihood of needing long-term care. However, are you aware of the attached price tag? According to Genworth, the following are the national monthly averages for various long-term care services in 2018:

  • Homemaker Services: $4,004
  • Adult Day Care: $1,560
  • Assisted Living: $4,000
  • Nursing Home: $7,441 (semi-private room), $8,365 (private room)

Genworth even breaks it down by state, as well as predicts the costs over the next 30 years, which continues to increase. Planning needs to happen now, not later.

What Are Your Needs?

Dig Into Your Family History

When you see a doctor, there is typically a section in all that paperwork asking you about your family history, and this can be a big predictor of whether you will need long-term care. Diseases and health conditions such as heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease tend to run in families. Knowing your risk of developing them means you can take steps to prevent it such as getting regular health screenings and making lifestyle changes.

Take a Hard Look at Your Lifestyle

You’ve probably heard how important it is to try to live a healthy lifestyle, but healthy aging can be a game changer. Making a conscious effort to start taking better care of yourself is a smart preventive measure. Get started on a regular health routine, and be a little more aware of what you put in your body. Stay on top of routine check-ups and health screenings, and follow all doctor’s orders, including medication. While you are assessing your health, consider assessing your home too. This guide courtesy of Caregiver Homes will help you make your home a safe space to age in place, making your home its own form of long-term care.

How Will You Pay?

Use Your Biggest Asset – Your Home

Your home is likely one of your largest investments, making it a perfectly viable option to use to fund your long-term care. Two such options are a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) and a reverse mortgage. A HELOC is essentially a loan you take out against your home and repay over a set period of time, becoming similar to a second mortgage. A reverse mortgage enables you to tap into your home’s equity, and payment isn’t required until you move out/sell the home. Both have pros and cons and come with unique requirements and stipulations, so research carefully and seek financial advice. Another way to use your home to help offset the costs of care is to rent it or even sell it outright. Homes in Charlotte, North Carolina, have sold for an average of $225,000 in the last month, according to Redfin. The proceeds from a home sale could be used to pay for long-term care, medical expenses, or even purchase a smaller home with a smaller mortgage.

Use Your Resources

You might not realize it, but you could be sitting on several financial resources. If you qualify for Social Security or receive a pension, use these monthly payments to fund your long-term care needs, at least in the first month until you find another supplemental form of income. Think about selling any old savings bonds, as well as your life insurance policy (life settlement) if the cash value is no longer needed. While Medicare won’t pay for long-term care, don’t discount it as a helpful financial resource. For example, a supplemental Medicare Advantage Plan can cover necessary healthcare expenses such as vision, hearing, dental, and prescription. Do your homework and see what plans are available in your state.

Long-term care planning doesn’t need to be hard or overwhelming, but waiting until the last minute is a surefire way to ensure it is. Start the process now by assessing your family history and lifestyle to determine the likelihood of needing long-term care, and employ ways to prevent it. Include financial options in your plan, and you’re ready no matter what comes your way.

Have questions about Long-Term Care? We are here to help. Contact KazSource Insurance today.