The cost of long-term care can take a huge bite out of retirement savings, exhaust family resources and create strain on relationships. Don’t count on Medicare, but do plan in advance.
At least seven out of ten Americans age 65 and over will need long-term care at some point. Most people simply underestimate the cost of long-term care, or they think that Medicaid will cover the costs. Your best defense against long-term care costs: advance planning with professional help.
The Memphis Daily News article, “Long-Term Care – Not for Everyone,” says that Medicare does little for these costs and only for a short time period. Medicaid doesn’t apply until the assets of an estate are spent down, so many people must pay for these costs out-of-pocket. The article says that there are only two ways to address these expenses: with your investment/retirement portfolio and with long-term care insurance. Most people review the cost of long-term care insurance and elect to roll the dice, but when that first round of expenses hits, they probably will wish they’d bought it long ago. Now it’s usually too late to buy it. If you can afford to self-insure, you can save your estate and yourself some serious money.
Long-term care insurance as part of your overall retirement plan is an option you should consider sooner if you don’t have other options to cover the expense. And if passing on an estate to your heirs is important to you, then shifting some of the risk to insurance makes sense. The best time to start looking at coverage is age 55. If you wait beyond that, you may see higher premiums and an increased possibility of being denied coverage.
Of course, active aging is great, but with age can come injury or illness, so you should look at your options. If you rely on family for long-term care, it can take a huge toll on the caregivers—both emotionally and physically—while the adult children also help to manage their own households.
Make sure that all members of the family are on board before making at-home care your plan. Discuss how your care may include outside sources of help, including a hired nurse aide or adult daycare. This is not an easy task for even the closest of families. Before making this decision, consider the short-term and long-term impact it may have on your loved ones and if they—and you—are being realistic about home care.
Reference: Memphis Daily News (July 29, 2016) “Long-Term Care – Not for Everyone”