According to a survey from the University of Chicago, two out of every three Americans who reach age 65 will need long-term care at some point. However, the majority of those age 40 and older have done little to nothing when it comes to planning for how they might pay for the care as they age.
Most people underestimate the cost of long-term care. Research in 2015 found that the average annual cost for a nursing home ranged from $80,300 to $91,250. For assisted living, the average annual cost was $43,200.
The future is just that: the future. Without our ability to predict what is going to happen to us later in life, it puts planning for our later years on the back burner. However, the statistics suggest you start planning soon.
- Consult with your family. Since a nursing home or assisted living setting might not be appropriate for everyone, relying on an unpaid, family caregiver could provide an, at least, temporary solution. However, family members must be flexible. If a caregiver must stay at home, that usually means a loss of family income.
- Consider an adult day center or home care as an option to support family caregivers with respite care. These cost significantly less than nursing homes.
- Look at insurance options. Long-term care insurance can be an option for paying for a nursing home or assisted living. However, be careful when choosing plans and make sure you understand what you are buying. These plans often have high premiums and if you never need care, the payments are lost.
- Consider a “continuum of care” community. Some retirement communities are more campus-like and feature a wide range of services from independent living to nursing and rehabilitation services. These types of communities will allow you to effectively “age in place” in a more familiar and comfortable environment.
- Start saving. Saving your money at an early age can be a challenge, but if you start soon, you could have enough funds to take a considerable chunk out of those costs. It’s always a good idea to factor long-term care into your savings plan.
- Start writing an advance directive. By communicating your wishes ahead of time, you can avoid complications if you are no longer able to communicate due to a disability or illness. It is wise to communicate your wishes in a legal document called an advance directive.
With 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day, the need for long-term care is only going to grow. By planning now, you can enjoy your golden years comfortable and worry-free.
If you or a loved one have questions about long term care, our care managers can help. For information about ElderServe’s Adult Day Health Center, call center director Tracy Goodman at 502.373.3302. If you’d like to know more about ElderServe’s non-medical HomeCare, call manager Ronnie Gilbert at 502.583.8012.