Too many seniors in the United States are turning a blind eye to the very real probability of needing long term care at some point as they age. Most believe that the financial responsibility will be absorbed by someone else, but unfortunately that is a plan to fail. The assistance provided by Medicare, Medicaid & any health care insurance is only a band aid for the serious financial pitfalls waiting for seniors. The finances set aside that you believe are enough is probably only a drop in a bucket, especially as the cost of home care continues to rise over time.
But the financial and emotional threat is very real. If there are any doubts, confer with your friends about how they dealt with this issue in caring for their parents. While we all have the best intentions to be there for an elder loved one, the reality of our actual ability and availability is another story. When you look into the cost of custom home care assistance, it’s truly sobering. And that concern will eventually trickle down to your adult children for YOU if you are not prepared.
So what can be done, especially if you’re well into your 70’s or 80’s to be prepared for this serious concern? The first thing is to educate yourself. The fact is that 70% of seniors will need home care assistance at some point. That’s 3 out of 4 of you. Waiting to see if your family has the time, energy and finances to deal with a sudden, unexpected health issue is not a wise strategy. It’s also not being responsible for yourself.
While no solution will seem perfect, especially if you have waited so long to even address it, there are still extremely valuable steps you can take to protect yourself and your family that can make a huge difference:
Make every adjustment possible to improve and maintain your strength and overall health. This can help to reduce the chances that you will require assistance in the future and solidify your quality of life. But also know that the #1 cause behind a senior suddenly needing home care assistance is an injury resulting from a trip and fall accident in the home. How can you plan for that? By already having a reasonable plan of care in place!
Explore the possibility of securing a long term care insurance policy. Because of the strict underwriting involved to be accepted, most people are now getting these plans in place between the ages of 45 and 65.The longer you wait, the difficult it is to be accepted for coverage, and/or to afford the premiums.
Look into an alternative home care plan to traditional long term care insurance. These home care service contracts/memberships have no medical underwriting and are available to the vast majority of seniors. And while these membership plans offer remarkably fast and effective service when required, like insurance, they must be secured BEFORE any home care assistance is needed.