You’ve probably thought about your health, but have you ever thought of whether you or someone you love will someday need long-term care? If you haven’t, it’s something to consider when planning for your financial future. Illnesses or injuries can hit at a moments notice, leaving you struggling to pay for care when you need it. That’s why it’s smart to start planning your long-term care strategy now.
Here are a few questions you should be asking yourself:
Will You Need Long-Term Care?
No one ever really expects to need long-term care, but you can be more ready for the possibility by knowing your health history. Are you, or a loved one, close to retirement? Long-term care is often needed as people age. Are there any hereditary illnesses or a history of injury? If you or someone close to you has a history of Alzheimer’s, dementia or any other degenerative disease, then long-term care may eventually be needed. Also take lifestyle choices into consideration as well.
Can You Do Anything to Help?
There’s no definitive way to prevent yourself or a loved one from needing long-term care. You can, however, take precautions to help you stay healthy. Exercise is a great way to keep your body strong and fend off potential illnesses. Your diet can dramatically impact your health as well. There is even some research that suggests certain foods can help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. Lifestyle choices can help prevent injuries and health issues that require long-term care.
Do You Know What to Expect?
Planning for the possibility of long-term care is smart. Just be sure to plan for all aspects of your care. You need to make certain that your health insurance will cover any medical needs that would arise from a serious injury or illness. You also need to be aware of any deductibles or premiums you’ll need to plan to pay for yourself. Also, think about whether you will need in-home help to provide care. Finally, you’ll need to research the price of accessibility upgrades you might need for your home.
Paying for Long-Term Care
How Can Insurance Help With Your Care?
Having health insurance, whether it’s Medicare or private insurance, is a smart move to cover medical costs. Your plan may pay for needs such as medications, medical supplies, and equipment needed for long-term care. If you have life insurance, you may be able to use that policy to help as well. You can sell your life insurance to cover excess or unexpected costs of long-term care. Be sure you understand your policy details and the options available to you before you make any decisions.
Where Can You Turn for Help?
Sometimes, savings and insurance just aren’t enough. The costs of long-term care can be unexpected and surprise needs can come up. Whether it’s hiring in-home help or making your home accessible, there are grants available to help. Do some research now, so you’ll know where to turn if you ever need help. It’s also wise to get help with the emotional effects of long-term care, so seek out support groups or counselors if you need help keeping your mental health in check.
How Can You Save for Long-Term Care?
Saving is an efficient way to prepare yourself for any unexpected turns that might impact your finances. Since long-term care is often needed when you’re a senior, you should make sure you’re saving now for retirement. Having enough retirement savings to cover your normal living expenses will make it easier to accommodate for lengthy care. You might also be able to use your Health Savings Account to tuck away funds for care. Try to pay your debt down to further free up finances.
Thinking of yourself or someone you love with a major illness or injury isn’t pleasant. But planning for the possibility of long-term care will take pressure off if the unthinkable does happen. It’s important to prepare your finances now, so you can have peace of mind as you grow older.
June is the co-creator of Rise Up for Caregivers, which offers support for family members and friends who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their loved ones. She is author of the upcoming book, The Complete Guide to Caregiving: A Daily Companion for New Senior Caregivers.
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