The New Year encourages many of us to think about the future. What we want to accomplish for ourselves, our family, our friends, and our legacy. As we age, it is only natural that our needs, and our resolutions in the New Year, tend to evolve. While many of us may have been focused ten years ago on retirement goals, many Older Americans today finding themselves contemplating a potential need for long-term care in the future.
Unfortunately, the costs of long-term care have steadily increased over the last decade and show no signs of stopping this year. In fact, these costs are up over five percent from last year and over fifty percent since 2004. Regrettably, many Older Americans do not realize that Medicare will not cover the costs of much of the long-term care they may need in the future. As an acute payor system, Medicare is not designed to be able handle the need for this type of care. This means that seniors and their loved ones, should begin to plan for how they will pay for long-term care as soon as possible.
We know that this may not only raise questions for you and your loved ones, but also be confusing. Where should you start this conversation? How do you ensure you can obtain the help you need? What should you focus on? Let us share three key insights that we share with our clients, family, friends, and local community professionals when we are discussing long-term care needs.
What is long-term care? Unfortunately, many of the seniors we speak with do not understand what long-term care really is. While they have a vague understanding that there are nursing homes and assisted facilities in their community, they do not know what it means to need to live in one or the differences between the two. They also believe that, no matter what should happen in the future, they will be able to live out their lives in their home. While this may be true for some seniors, too often, it is not the case. We encourage our senior clients and their loved ones to start learning about the types of long-term care as soon as possible.
Will you need long-term care in the future? More and more studies report that over seventy percent of all Older Americans will need some form of long-term care in the future. Whether it is help with light housework and grocery shopping or 24/7 hands on care and assistance with bathing, the future could hold the need for long-term care assistance. We encourage all of our clients, friends, and family to not wait for a crisis to happen to begin to plan for this potential need in the future.
How do I prepare now? One of the first steps in preparing for a future that could include long-term care is to learn what is available in your community. Are there home health care providers? Are there assisted living facilities nearby? Nursing homes? Are they in close proximity to the hospital that is able to best meet the needs of Older Americans? After assessing what is available in your community, take the time to research the cost of long-term care in your community. You can use the Genworth Cost of Long-Term Care Study that we want to share with you to begin your research on the long-term costs of care in our community.
After these three steps, you can begin to plan forward. We work with seniors and their loved ones everyday who are looking to create a plan to address potential long-term care needs. One of the keys to a successful plan is to ensure it can help you both now and well into the future. We encourage you to contact our office to schedule a meeting to answer your long-term care related questions.