Long Term Care

Protect yourself and your family by preparing before care is needed.

While you can’t predict when or the duration long term care will be needed, you can prepare yourself for its financial, practical, and emotional challenges. Care can sometimes be provided by family or friends but paid care often becomes a necessity. Whether care is provided at home or in a facility, for a few months or a few years, the costs quickly add up. But putting a financial plan in place now can help protect your assets and give peace of mind.

Why create a long term care plan?

  • Protect your retirement assets.
  • Minimize dependence on family members and others.
  • Control how, where, and from whom you receive care.

Identify what financial options, including savings, will work for you and your family in paying for possible long term care costs. Learn about these options and whether they are right for you. For most people, there isn’t just one right answer. The best plan includes several elements. For example, you might look to family members to help out (if so, you should let them know your expectations now) but also plan to use personal savings, a long term care insurance policy or a reverse mortgage. A plan that includes a combination of financial options is likely to be the best approach. Once you’ve identified the options, begin taking steps to learn more about and secure these resources. For example, if you plan to have family members help you, talk to them about your expectations.

DO I REALLY NEED TO WORRY ABOUT POSSIBLE LONG TERM CARE COSTS?

Long term care isn’t just about the elderly. About 40% of care recipients are people under the age of 65 who have suffered an accident or illness.  In 2008, 21 million people required long-term care services. About 70 percent of people over age 65 require some type of long-term care services during their lifetime. As life expectancy continues to increase, most of us will eventually need assistance.  Since there is a good chance that you might need long-term care services at some point, it is important to explore your options and plan ahead.  Family members are often far away or busy with other responsibilities and careers, increasing the need for professional help.

PLANNING FOR LTC

People often put off planning for long-term care because they do not want to think about a time when they might need it. Most people first learn about long-term care when they or a loved one needs care. However, if you wait until you need services to start planning, your options will be limited. You may not have the money you need to pay for the services you want. Or you may have to rely on your family or others to make decisions for you.  You will have important housing considerations and legal issues to weigh when planning for long-term care.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PLANNING

Planning is also important because long-term care can be very expensive, and Medicare and other health insurance programs don’t cover many long-term care services. The cost of long-term care services is often more than what the average person can pay from personal income and savings. Planning ahead gives you the time to save for your long-term care needs or to find the payment options that work best for you if you need services.

Planning helps you understand:

  • Services available in your community.
  • Special conditions (such as age or income) that may apply for receiving services.
  • Costs of services.
  • Public or private payment options available to you.
  • Which family members and friends will be there for you?

What financial options, including savings, will work for you and your family in paying for possible long term care costs? Learn about these options and whether they are right for you. For most people, there isn’t just one right answer. The best plan includes several elements. For example, you might look to family members to help out (if so, you should let them know your expectations now) but also plan to use personal savings, a long term care insurance policy or a reverse mortgage. A plan that includes a combination of financial options is likely to be the best approach.

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