Major studies indicate that more than half of Americans will need nursing home care at some point in their lives. The major questions that stem from this are: first, what can I do now to plan; second, how can I pay for it? Here are a few options to consider.
Leverage Home Value
There are financial hacks you can use to leverage the value of your home to help pay for long-term care, such as reverse mortgages or taking advantage of a great market.
How you use the value of your home will largely depend on your current financial needs and plans. If you need cash soon, it’s a good idea to look at some of the listing prices in your area and make plans to use money from selling your home to pay for long-term care and give yourself financial security. For example, homes in Plymouth, Minnesota, have sold for an average of $380,000 in the last month, which could free up a lot of money for your needs.
Use Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-term care insurance is one of those services you hope that you never have to use. However, the cost of a shared room in a nursing home for one year can be over six figures. Having insurance to cover that can be extremely valuable.
Prevent Before You Cure
What lifestyle choices are you making at the moment, and how can they impact you in the future? Healthy dietary and exercise habits can do a lot for your overall wellness and help you live a high-quality life in the long-term.
Have a Talk with Family and Loved Ones
Discuss your intentions and plans with people you trust. If you’re discussing future plans for someone else’s life, frame your conversation about empowerment and having options, as this will help the conversation flow more smoothly and in a positive, optimistic way. Whether this conversation is about you or a loved one, try to be sensitive about needs and how to best meet them. Get an idea about who will be taking care of living circumstances and needs, and make sure you and your loved ones are all on the same page.
Estimate the Costs in Advance
A recent article from Forbes highlighted many people’s tendencies to underestimate the cost of long-term care by as much as 50 percent. This overestimation is largely because of two things: One is that people don’t have experience calculating the expenses; the other is because people underestimate how much services like home assistance care will cost. It’s better to overestimate how much services will cost so you know just how much to save.
Consider Family History
An article on family history and Alzheimer’s disease by Harvard Medical School suggested that your risk of the disease is about 30 percent higher if you have Alzheimer’s in your family history. Look at your family history of everything: bowel problems, dementia, cancer, and so on. Knowing these details can help you make plans and think about what costs you might need.
Think About Home Modifications
Simple home modifications like installing grab bars in the bathroom or moving the main living area to the main floor are ways that people can age in place. This can possibly delay the necessity of long-term care. After considering your family history, as well as any recent slip-ups you may have had, install the necessary modifications to improve your independence.
The sooner you start planning long-term care, the more secure a situation you’ll be in. Plan in an organized manner and make a checklist of everything you need to do to take care of yourself or a loved one. You can have all your bases covered and rest easy knowing you’ll be okay.
June Duncan 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 the author of the upcoming book, The Complete Guide to Caregiving: A Daily Companion for New Senior Caregivers.