One of the differences between people who are usually happy and those who are routinely miserable is the ability to regroup and to have a Plan B in reserve when Plan A doesn’t work out despite their best efforts.
I have encountered one family who made reasonable plans for long-term care with insurance through their employment, only to run into a problem when after their retirement, the company went into bankruptcy. The insurance they had relied on, no longer existed. New plans had to be made.
Another couple in their mid eighties finally closed their business, they began reviewing their estate plans including their long-term care insurance coverage and realized that it was woefully inadequate by today’s standards. They need help to determine their best Plan B.
When considering long-term care it is important to include several factors:
- Health and mobility – Does the state of your health indicate an immediate need for assistance or predict that need in the near or distant future.
- Levels of need – Will you need someone to run errands provide transportation? Do you need someone to do some or all of your housekeeping? Do you need assistance with meal planning and cooking or personal care?
- Availability of options in your area – Larger cities may have a wider selection of housing and support opportunities, while rural areas may offer more family and friend support. It is important to evaluate that is in your preferred area and determine if you are willing to move to get your needs met. Some retired couples move to be near children or other close relatives. Even so, they must decide what kinds of support are acceptable to both the individuals and the potential caregivers.
- Personal preferences – Would you prefer to remain at home and have caregivers come to you or would you prefer to move into a retirement community or assisted living to have greater community access and activities.
- Cost – Independent Living is less expensive than Assisted Living, which costs less than Skilled Nursing Care. Even within those categories, there are choices. Independent Living can be your own home or an apartment or condo. Services can be privately paid, covered by insurance, provided by the apartment or condo community or paid for by Medicare, Medicaid or Veterans benefits.
- Resources – Do you have Long-Term Care Insurance? If you do, review it now and compare your coverage to today’s care rates.
- Don’t Panic – Just look at what’s needed and what you can do now.
The first consideration is to discover living arrangements that may make long-term care less expensive. Many people are opting to live in retirement communities that offer supports that make it possible to delay the move to assisted living or Nursing Care facilities. While some retirement communities can be pricey, there are some surprisingly good options for those with low incomes and resources.
One of the greatest fears for most seniors it not having enough money and resources to last their entire lives. Our office takes that seriously. We help people set up the best plans to preserve their assets, make them available when need arises, and still be able to take advantage of government programs to provide necessary medical needs while retaining the resources to pay for other important things. We even try to make sure there is room for good Plan Bs if they are needed.