Ways to Plan and Pay For Long-Term Care Needs

This article was written exclusively for our West View Nursing readers, by our good friend Hazel Bridges of www.agingwellness.org!

No one stays young forever. At some point in your life, you or a loved one may require long-term care. Long-term care is a group of services that helps you with basic needs such as bathing, eating, dressing, and other day-to-day activities. You can save yourself a great deal of stress if you prepare for the possibility of long-term care by determining how you will plan and pay for it. Read on for advice on how to anticipate this kind of service.

Planning for Long-Term Care

 How do you determine if you or a loved one will require long-term care? Does your loved one lose track of appointments on a regular basis? Maybe you’ve recently had a stroke, a fall, or a complex surgery that has taken a toll on your health. Is your loved one having trouble with personal hygiene? When you drive to the store, do you get lost on the way home? Do you have any hereditary illness that may affect your future health? Do you not exercise on a regular basis? Maybe you don’t eat a healthy diet and have developed type 2 diabetes. These are signs that you may require long-term care.

You can reduce your chances of needing long-term care by maintaining your health. Eat a balanced diet and exercise daily. Visit your doctor for yearly checkups. Pursue hobbies and spend time with family and friends. Stimulate your brain by reading books or taking an interesting class.

And just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you need to downsize or move into a retirement facility. And there are ways to plan ahead as you anticipate the changes you will go through as you grow older. According to CNBC.com, “[y]our home may be exactly what you need right now,” but it may not be what you require 10, 20, or 30 years in the future. For example, climbing stairs may not bother your knees at this time in your life, but when you’re 75, you may have osteoarthritis. If you want to remain in your two-story home, try renovating it.

Installing slip-resistant floors in the bathroom, as well as bathtub and toilet grab bars, is a good place to start. Install railings on both sides of stairs. Use automatic night lights, and remove any loose carpeting or rugs. This is just a small sample of renovations that will help you age in place.

Costs Associated with Long-Term Care

According to LongTermCare.gov, “[t]he cost of long-term care depends on the type and duration of care you need, the provider you use, and where you live.” Home health care visits are usually provided in two- to four-hour blocks of time. Visits that occur on evenings, weekends, and holidays are typically more expensive. If you live in a long-term care facility, you’ll be charged for housekeeping and meals in addition to your room.

Think ahead by planning for future costs of long-term care. For example, US News suggests you “check if a long-term insurance policy is available.”  If you’re still years away from retirement, consider opening a health savings account (HSA) to set aside money for future long-term healthcare costs. You can also reserve a portion of your regular savings to help you pay for unexpected long-term needs. And if you’re a veteran, take advantage of veteran benefits. If you’re a veteran who has served in times of conflict, you and your spouse may qualify for Veterans Affairs Aid and Attendance to help cover the cost.

As you grow older, it’s important to plan for the possibility of long-term care. This group of services can be expensive, so it’s never too early to start saving for potential costs. Whether you live in a retirement home or age in place, you need to anticipate the expenses associated with growing older. By investigating ways to pay for long-term healthcare, you can avoid financial hardship if you ever need to use this particular type of service. And if you strive to live a healthy, active life, you may even be able to reduce the risk of injury or serious illness.

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