Let’s all be objective. Long-term care is on course to overtake both social security and Medicare as the number one pressing social challenge in this nation. There’s an enormous, aging population of baby boomers. With the ever increasing cost of accessing quality health care, long-term care looks like just another crisis in the making – a national crisis. So what can you do to make sure that long-term care doesn’t become a personal crisis as well? Prepare. That’s the key word. Families can plan and prepare for long-term care expenses late in life.
Today, more than half of American citizens aged 80 years and above are receiving long-term care. Roughly 70% of individuals aged over 65 years will need some time of long-term care services at one point or the other during their lifetime. More than 40% will need nursing home care for a duration of time. Contrary to common misconceptions, this is not an elder care issue. Actually, 40% of all people receiving long-term care services today are below 65 years of age.
The Cost of Care
Long-term care happens to be quite expensive. As of 2009, the average daily cost of a private nursing home room was $219. That’s a whopping $79, 935 annually. Considered that the average nursing home stay is 2.8 years, the average patient would necessitate up to $223, 818 for the stay. That’s particularly alarming considered that the median household income in the U.S. today is $51, 939 (2014 Census information).
So now, what about home healthcare?
No luck here.
This can even be more expensive. Home health care aides charged $21 per hour in 2009. Calculated annually, this amounts to $183, 960. Very high cost; no doubt about it. And there’s government programs – limited support!
The Recipe for Crisis
Simply put, lack of planning is the recipe for the long-term care crisis. Opinion strategies prove that 65 of American families have no plans for long-term care for themselves or their spouse. Maybe it’s just because it’s human nature not to worry about things that haven’t happened yet. But have it in mind that lack of planning is the single worst long-term care mistake you can make.
The Remedy – Get Ready
- Start Early – this is the first step. Rather than just putting it off, start planning right now. Long term care is not limited to the elderly. Gather some knowledge and understand the core issues surrounding long-term care.
- Understand Services – there are several long-term care packages in the offering. It helps a lot to do some learning so you can understand what’s available out there!
- Get Help – sometimes, long-term care services can be expensive or complicated. Professional help from care advisors can be instrumental.
- Use All Financial Tools – there are more financial tools than you probably care to learn about. Still, you want to go through them and see what they can do for you. Start evaluating your options from long term care insurance, personal assets, Medicare, IRAs, Medicaid, IRAs, etc.
- Explore Insurance – today, most people prefer to buy long-term care insurance policies. Do a little shopping to see what premiums are there.
- Get on the Same Page – if you’re planning for long-term care, you definitely want to make your wishes known to family members and other caregivers that might be involved. Hold a formal meeting and write an easily understood agreement. This makes sure that there’s no crisis when the time really comes!
To wrap it all up, you can avoid a long term care crisis by doing your homework, researching in advance, and preparing accordingly.