Planning for Long-Term Care – Why It Matters
If you’re still young and healthy, you may feel you have ample time before you need to worry about long-term care. No one wants to think about a time when they will age and probably cannot take care of themselves.
As a result, planning for long-term care often gets put off. Most people only learn about the need for long-term care when they or loved ones fall sick or get disabled. This is often too late when they have an immediate need for services and inadequate funds to pay for preferred services.
“Planning for LTC is critical since there’s a good chance you’ll need a long-term care service in retirement,” advises Nicholas Jembelis, Senior Vice President at David Lerner Associates. “About two-thirds of people aged 65 require some long-term care services, and the possibility of needing care increases as you age."
What Is Long Term Care?
Long-term care (LTC) refers to a range of services and support provided to people who cannot care for themselves because of old age, disability, a chronic illness, or other long-term conditions.
LTC can include assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, walking, toileting, and feeding, as well as more complex medical tasks, such as monitoring chronic conditions or managing medications.
Nursing homes often come to mind; however, LTC can be provided in a variety of settings, including at home, in a continuing care retirement community, or in an assisted living facility. The specific type of care needed will depend on your specific needs and abilities, as well as your personal preferences and circumstances.
Why You Should Plan For LTC
- You will be able to receive the care you need if you become unable to care for yourself. Planning helps you understand the long-term care service options available in your local community and what special conditions may apply for receiving services.
- Long-term care planning also helps you prepare for the financial impact of care. Without proper planning, the cost of LTC can be high, and it's challenging to pay for it without straining your family finances. LTC planning can involve buying long-term care insurance, setting aside funds specifically for care, or exploring options like Medicaid or veterans’ benefits.
- Planning for LTC is also vital for emotional and psychological reasons. While you can try postponing or delaying long-term care, it’s impossible to know whether you will need it. Since an injury or illness could happen, it’s best to start long-term care planning before the need arises. It can help you and your family have peace of mind, knowing that you’re prepared for any eventuality.
- Reduces your risk of depleting your assets. With proper planning, there is a greater probability of being able to leave an estate to your heirs since you’re less likely to direct your financial resources to pay for care.
The Cost of Long-Term Care Planning
People commonly overlook how expensive LTC is and how it’s paid for.
The cost of long-term care planning can vary widely depending on various factors, including your location, the type and level of care needed, the setting in which care is provided, and your specific circumstances.
The cost of long-term care can be significant, and it’s vital to plan for the financial impact of care. To get a better estimate of care costs, read annual studies from Genworth, AARP, and similar industry experts.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-term care insurance can help you and your family to prepare for the financial impact of care by covering some or all of the costs associated with LTC, something traditional health insurance policies don’t offer.
Long-term care insurance can cover costs like:
- Skilled nursing care
- Nursing homes that provide round-the-clock care
- Assisted living facilities or residential care facilities
- Physical, occupational, and speech therapy
- Home modifications, such as remodeled bathrooms, enlarged doorways, and wheelchair ramps
LTC policies cost less when you’re younger, so it may be advisable to purchase a policy some years before you retire instead of waiting until you require care.
When picking a long-term care insurance policy, keep in mind that they typically place a limit on how long they will cover care. Some may cover you for 2-5 years, while others may cover you for the rest of your life.
Overall, planning for long-term care is critical to preparing for the future.
While planning won’t prevent all emotional or financial challenges, it can help you reduce many of them — or avoid them altogether.
Long-term care can be costly. Still, there are a few ways to offset some costs, such as government programs like Medicaid, long-term care insurance, and retirement and savings vehicles.
Discuss your options for care and funding to get a better idea of your options.
Material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be used in connection with the evaluation of any investments offered by David Lerner Associates, Inc.
This material does not constitute an offer or recommendation to buy or sell securities and should not be considered in connection with the purchase or sale of securities.
To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.
These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable– we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.
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