The Right Plan, The Right Way, at The Right Time



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.

Consider this:

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, 2008

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

The national 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.

It’s important 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 later:

Health insurance 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 care.

Without a 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 coverage.

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.

Being prepared 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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