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.
The number of
persons aged 65 or older is expected to double in the
next 20 years; there will be 110 percent more people 80
or older – U.S. Census Bureau, News Release, August 14,
At least 70% of
people over age 65 will require some long term care
services at some point; more than 40% will need care in
a nursing home – U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, September 2008
The cost of long
term care in the U.S. has increased for the sixth
consecutive year, most of these increases are outpacing
inflation – Genworth Financial Cost of Care Survey,
conducted by CareScout, April 2009
average median cost of one year in a private nursing
home room is $74,208 – Genworth Financial Cost of Care
Survey, conducted by CareScout, April 2009
It is never too
soon and almost always better to have talked and made
plans in advance. Talk with your parents 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.
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. The
list is long, but here are just a few things you should
know now, rather than discovering them the hard way
and Medicare cover virtually none 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 are practically destitute and
then Medicaid kicks in. Many who thought they had saved
adequately end up impoverished, getting substandard
durable power of attorney (a simple document that is
easy to obtain), you may have to go to court to gain
guardianship over your parent so you can handle his or
her affairs if he or she becomes 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 overnight. 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
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.
will mean less work, less stress, less worry and fewer
regrets. Talk. Talk now. Because we need to prepare for
aging like we prepare for everything else in life.
Calculate the Cost of Long Term Care in your area.
Source: Genworth Financial
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