During my adult life, whenever I have thought about long term care (LTC), it was always with my mother or my in-laws in mind. I always thought that it would be them who would need an extended stay in a long term care facility, and that I was young and didn’t have to worry about things like that for myself. My recent stay of thirty four days in the hospital has changed my thinking about that.
Although I am only sixty years old, I have to face the fact that I (and my husband) am getting closer to that age group every day. I am also facing the facts that you don’t have to be a certain age to be a candidate for a nursing home. You never know what is going to happen to you tomorrow, that will change your life forever.A stroke could render you helpless, a fall could cause a broken hip, alzheimer’s can take a huge toll on you, and put a lot of stress on a spouse or adult children trying to work to make a living and provide care for someone they love.
I tell myself that I have four children, and that they would be more than willing to take me in and take care of me if I were to be to the point where I can’t take care of myself. I could be right, but I could just as well be kidding myself. While my son and daughters may be willing, they may not be able to provide the care I would need on a long term basis. I know they love me, but they have families and jobs and lives of their own. An incapacitated parent can be a financial and emotional drain on anyone.
So, what are the options for someone if they need long term care? How do you decide if you need an assisted living facility or a nursing home? And how am I going to pay for it? According to the the Department of Health and Human Services, 40% of people who reach age 65 will need to have some form of long term care. Long Term Care Insurance is a way to help pay for the care you need if you have a chronic illness or disability and need help with the activities of daily life.
Assisted living is often viewed as the best of both worlds. Residents have as much independence as they want with the knowledge that personal care and support services are available if they need them. Assisted living communities are designed to provide residents with assistance with basic ADLs (activities of daily living) such as bathing, grooming, dressing, and more. Some states also allow assisted living to offer medication assistance and/or reminders. Assisted living communities differ from nursing homes in that they don’t offer complex medical services.
A nursing home, or convalescent home, provides residential care for people who require constant nursing care and have significant problems with activities related to daily living. Skilled nurses are available 24 hours a day. The residents of nursing homes typically are elderly and younger adults with physical or mental disabilities. The residents of this type of facility may receive physical, occupational or other therapies following an accident or illness.
Lots of people believe that Medicaid will pay for their long term care needs. But Medicaid programs are in trouble funding-wise in every state. In the future Medicaid may become even harder to qualify for. Medicare covers only about 50 percent of most beneficiaries’ health-care costs and doesn’t reimburse for long-term care. If you don’t plan for LTC, you may have limited or no choices to pay for care when your health changes. And you never know when that might be.
So, what can you do? A Long Term Care insurance policy will help provide the care you need, when you need it. To find out an approximate cost of a long term care policy, check out Genworth Financial’s LTC Insurance Calculator. I did, and found that for my age, I could be insured for long term care for as little as $1650 a year. Compared to the cost of long term care in a skilled nursing facility, that is a bargain. And, the younger you are, the less your policy is going to cost. You are never too young to prepare for your future!
This is a sponsored post for Genworth Financial. Opinions and the ideas expressed are my own. For more information about long term care insurance and different types of life insurance visit the Genworth Financial website.