What exactly is long-term care? Basically, long-term care is any type of health service or support that a person needs in order to take care of their personal daily necessities. It covers a wide range of not just medical also social services that a person, especially if they’re older, might and probably will need.
If you’re nearing retirement age and worried about the cost of long-term care, the most important thing that you can do is start preparing now and planning early.
The length of time that a person needs long-term care varies from person to person, and it usually changes over time as well. For example, a person in their 60s, under normal circumstances, won’t need nearly as much long-term care as a person in their 80s or 90s. In other words, the longer you live the higher chance of needing long-term care that you’re going to have.
By the way, if you think that long-term care is something that you probably won’t need, the statistics that we’re going to quote for you now beg to differ. For example;
- 20% of seniors age 65 and older will need long-term care support for five years or longer
- In 2010, the cost for a private room in a long-term care facility was just under $7000 a month
- Almost 15% of the people providing long-term care services of some sort are actually 65 years of age or older themselves.
- Even between age 40 and 50, nearly 10% of Americans will have some type of disability that requires long-term care
How to Prepare for Long Term Care
As with almost anything in life, the best way to prepare for long-term care is to do it before you actually need it. The closer you are to retirement age, the more crucial it is that you start getting things in order.
One of the most important reasons to have long-term care preparations made is that, if you do end up needing it, you won’t have to take money out of your retirement savings to pay for it. You also won’t have to completely rely on Medicaid and Medicare.
There are a number of people that you should talk to about long-term care in order to get their opinions, advice and counsel. If you’re a financial expert, you might be able to do it yourself but, aside from that, you’d be best not to do it alone.
The people you need to meet with include;
- Your attorney. They can show you the various options that you have to guard your assets should you need long-term care and run up huge medical bills because of it. They can also help you with two documents that are absolutely critical to your financial safety, including a Power of Attorney (POA) and a Conservatorship.
- Your financial advisor. Many of the choices you’re going to need to make, including out-of-pocket costs, deductibles and insurance premiums, will affect you financially. It’s for this reason that speaking with your financial advisor and getting their advice to prepare yourself financially is extremely important.
- Of course it’s vital that you also meet with your insurance agent. Keep in mind that there’s a big difference between health insurance and long-term care insurance. Knowing the difference, and having both, is critical to your financial health as well as your overall health.
- Talk with your closest relatives. It’s also incredibly important that the people closest to you in your life know what role they will play in your long-term care, if necessary, and also know what your wishes are should you become incapacitated.
Again, the closer you are to retirement the more important it is to discuss long-term care with the professionals listed above and make sure that everything is in order. The last thing you want is to need long-term care and not be financially prepared for it.