For any adult nearing retirement age, it’s never too soon to discuss a senior care plan. While we would all like to imagine retirement life free from the necessity of long-term care, in reality approximately two-thirds of people ages 65 and older will require long-term care in some form, according to AARP.
Every older adult could benefit from having a plan in place for potential care down the road. Even if your health never declines to the point of needing support, having a plan can offer priceless peace of mind for you and your family. It’s better for everyone to make senior care decisions before care is necessary.
Unfortunately, many families are rushed into care decisions when an accident occurs or a medical condition presents itself, limiting the opportunities to make educated decisions or benefit from possible financial planning. Planning for care now can help you get the most out of your decisions and give you and your loved one’s peace of mind about the future.”
Three Considerations for Future Senior Care
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to making plans about senior care. While the future will always have an element of unpredictability, considering your options and formalizing basic plans now can help you and your family steer through uncertain times.
The AARP resource guide, “Planning for Long-Term Care,” highlights several important factors in planning for the future. Some key suggestions involve:
Considering Future Care Wishes – It’s important to know what kind of senior care you would prefer, should it ever be necessary. Would you rather receive care at home or at a senior living community? If the former, you should assess whether your house and its location are ideal for helping you remain independent. If the latter, begin researching types of communities near you (traditional nursing homes, active senior living, assisted living, continuing care communities, etc.) to see which ones you like the most. Doing your research ahead of time can allow you to choose the most desirable community and start making financial plans to make that option possible.
Considering How to Pay for Care – Perhaps the most important considerations to make when planning for future care is how you’re going to pay for the services you might need. Since private health insurance plans, as well as Medicare, do not typically cover long-term care, knowing what financial options are available to you before you need care can make it much more affordable. Financial options for paying for long-term care include:
- Retirement Savings and Other Investments – Investments such as a 401(k) plan or IRAs are some of the most common ways to pay for long-term care. Cashing in on stocks and other investments is another possibility.
- Real Estate – If you want to move to a retirement or long-term care community, you can use the money made from selling or renting out your house to pay for care. If you’d rather receive care at home, you can pay for services by setting up a reverse mortgage. As long as you live in your home, a reverse mortgage will allow to you exchange your equity in your home for monthly payments, which you can use to pay for in-home care.
- Veterans Benefits – Many qualifying veterans and their spouses can pay for care through benefits they receive from the Veterans Administration (VA). The Aid and Attendance Pension is part of the Improved Pension benefits for veterans and their spouses who require assistance with daily living activities, such as dressing, bathing, eating, etc.
- Long-Term Care Insurance – Unlike regular health insurance, these policies cover the costs of care in an independent living, assisted living or skilled nursing community, as well as home care. Long-term care insurance should be bought when you are younger and relatively healthy. Those in poor health or already receiving long-term care may not qualify for this kind of insurance.
- Medicaid – Medicaid is a federally and state funded program that pays for long-term care services for those with very low-income levels and few assets. Eligibility for Medicaid varies slightly from state to state and depends upon financial and functional health requirements. These benefits can be used to cover the costs of skilled nursing care or assisted living as long as the person resides in that community.
Considering Others Involved in Your Future – Once you’ve made decisions about how you would like to handle your future care, sharing those plans with your loved ones is important. Not only will it help to ensure that you receive the type of senior care you want should you be unable to communicate your wishes later on, but you will also save your loved ones from the burden of making these decisions on their own.
When the time is right, you can choose to make legal plans, such as a living will or power of attorney. If an accident should occur and you cannot make decisions for yourself, these legal documents will legitimize your healthcare choices. Even if you wait to write up a living will, it’s still a good idea to put your care wishes in writing to avoid any confusion or disagreements among family members.
Make a Plan Now for Security in the Future
In addition to feeling secure about your future, and not need to wonder what you’d do in the case of an accident or health crisis, making a plan for senior care has many other great benefits. Knowing what you want for the future allows you to make the financial and legal plans necessary to make your plan a reality.
Many of today’s seniors are choosing to make the move to a senior living community while they’re still healthy and independent. They enjoy the maintenance-free lifestyle, social opportunities, dining and engagement programs that senior living provides. Residents at Tuscan Gardens® enjoy living in our resort-style community with its finely furnished suites and rich amenities. They also love knowing that our continuum of care ensures that their health needs will be met if they ever need support in the future.