Ever worry like crazy about something, but don’t want to talk about it? The topic of aging and long-term care seems to fall into this category. We’re all suffering from a terminal disease, and that disease is called time. Rarely does a week go by that someone doesn’t mention to me about how worried they are about their parents, grandparents or themselves. What’s going to happen when they are no longer able to care for themselves? Who will care for them? Where will they be cared for? How will they be able to pay for care?
These are important and difficult questions. I realized that my clients had nowhere to go to get these answers, so I decided to better educate myself on the topic. I wasn’t looking forward to it, because I thought it was going depress me. I have good news!! I feel much better now.
This is not your parents’ long-term care. Options in this area have made significant progress since my parents were in this situation. Ten thousand Baby Boomers turn 65 each day. Baby Boomers have changed the world as they’ve gone through each phase of their lives. Now they’re working on improving what retirement and aging look like. As with everything else – they want options! So now, we’re beginning to have great options for aging and long-term care. “Nursing homes” are moving to the back, while an array of better options are moving forward.
What are the options?
- Aging in place – there’s no place like home. This is a good option for people who are generally in good health. A major consideration is the current floor plan, and if it needs to be changed. Check out universal design for suggestions on preparing the home. There has also been a large increase in the types of services available to come to your home, including meals, transportation, and nursing care.
- 55+ independent living communities – best suited for active, healthy, 55+ adults looking for a hassle-free lifestyle. There are options for every budget. They usually provide limited health services.
- Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) – this is a combination of living accommodations and a continuum of health care services for life. Independent living, Assisted living, and Skilled nursing is usually in one location. There are a wide variety of price ranges. Most provide a wide range of activities for active, healthy adults. They will help you when/if you become ill, but that is not the vast majority of residents.
- Assisted living facilities – this is for individuals who need help with some activities of daily living, such as bathing or dressing. Many have individual apartments and activities, including things like a movie theatre.
- Skilled nursing facilities – this is the closest to what we think of as a nursing home. They provide 24-hour skilled nursing services for the seriously ill or advanced dementia.
What do they cost?
The costs are vastly different based on the option, and even within each category. The good news is that there are options for most budgets. You will want to take your time and get a clear understanding of what services are included and what are extra. A few questions to ask:
- Is there a down payment? Is it refundable?
- What does the monthly fee include? Food? Utilities? Transportation? Activities? Health care services?
- Do the monthly fees increase each year? Do they increase with additional care?
- What if I run out of money? Is there a benevolence fund? Do they take Medicaid?
- Private pay – maybe use the value of your home?
How do you pay for them?
I suggest you talk to your financial advisor/planner. You can use your home, your investment assets and your retirement assets. You can also use a long-term care policy as additional care is needed. There are many more long-term care insurance options today. Your advisor should be able to educate you on all of these options. Many policies now allow for a death benefit, or for you to change your mind and get all or most of your money back.
The bottom line: Options, options and options – from the type of places, to the services offered, to the cost and the availability of insurance. At some point, we will all have to face this for ourselves or a loved one. Start educating yourself today!
Any opinions are those of Mary Evans and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of September 6, 2019, and are subject to change without notice. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Investing involves risk, and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected.
Mary Evans, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM, 1134 Pennsylvania Avenue, Emmaus, PA 18049. 610-421-8664
Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services are offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc. Evans Wealth Strategies is not a registered broker-dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services.