Intro by Katie Vella

We are excited to have another installment of an informative blog by Marie Villeza of Elder Impact. This month she discusses planning and preparing for long-term care. Each of Marie’s blogs are designed to empower seniors against ageism. Check back each month for more helpful information, or even better check out Elder Impact and talk with their staff directly.

Nothing is more important to a senior — and his or her family — than taking steps to make sure they live comfortably as they get older. Even though you can’t predict life’s twists and turns, you can take steps to be in control. That’s why planning for retirement and future care now makes so much sense, even if it seems like a future that’s far off in the distance.

Taking the time now to plan for the costs associated with long-term care can also help you learn ways to make it more affordable. Taking the time to set the course for long-term care now means you get more say in what happens and when. That’s an invaluable asset every senior deserves.

Tips for Planning for Long-Term Care

Planning helps you understand your decisions and prevents you from feeling too overwhelmed by the process. While there are many options and opportunities, start by asking yourself three major questions:

  1. What is the likelihood you will require long-term care?
  2. What lifestyle choices are you making now that could impact the need for long-term care?
  3. Are there hereditary illnesses and conditions that could impact you?

If you know the answers to these questions, you can get started on a plan for care. For example, if you have a family history of Alzheimer’s or dementia, or have recently been diagnosed, you know the potential need for long-term care is greater. By asking these questions you might be able to recognize that some lifestyle choices such as smoking or unhealthy eating habits could make long-term care a real possibility.

When planning, it’s also important to take into consideration if you are close to retirement and where you plan on retiring. Some people decide to move to be closer to family and friends or to live out their golden years with other retirees. Knowing when and where you want to retire can help you decide what long-term care might look like for you. If you will need to receive long-term care, you’ll want to determine ahead of time if:

  • You want to keep your house.
  • You want to hire in-home help, a family member or move into an assisted living facility.
  • You want to start an exercise regimen now to stave off any health issues.
  • You will need technology or home modifications to help you live independently.

Paying for Long-Term Care

Many people don’t realize their Medicare won’t cover long-term care. Purchasing long-term care insurance when younger and healthier, may help save you money — not to mention a lot of heartache — in the long run. In addition to long-term care insurance, other ways to pay for long-term care include:

  • Liquidating assets or selling off portions of an estate.
  • Applying for grants that provide home modifications and accessibility equipment.
  • Applying for veteran’s benefits, if eligible.
  • Selling a life insurance policy.
  • Investing in a health savings account.

Paying for long-term care on a fixed income can be an added stressor to getting older. When you prepare your financials far in advance, you’ll be glad you did, even if you wind up not needing long-term care.

The best time to plan for and decide how to pay for long-term care is long before you need it. If you or a loved one is approaching retirement, planning and paying for long-term care could help ensure a stress-free future for the whole family.

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