No one wants to think about needing long-term care for their loved ones or themselves, but being financially prepared for it will give you peace of mind. Long-term care is not something we should fear, because it can help us live better lives. If you are considering the possibility of this kind of support, here is what you need to know to be prepared.
Preparing for Long-Term Care
It’s wise to begin assessing whether or not you or a loved one may require long-term care at some point as early as possible. There are important questions you need to ask yourself before moving forward. Look at the lifestyle you or your loved one lead. As we age, therisk of needing long-term care increases. Further, diet and fitness levels all contribute to needing long-term care. By improving these, you can reduce the risk of injury or illness. Eat foods that are good sources of fiber and low in saturated fat and calories. Try to reduce, or even eliminate, alcohol and tobacco use, and be sure to get a full night of sleep each night. Stay active or increase your physical activity, and staysocial with loved ones.
However, that isn’t all you need to consider. There may be hereditary issues to take into account when deciding if you or a loved one will need long-term care. Some of the mostdangerous conditions are cancers, especially breast, pancreatic, and prostate; obesity, which may be genetic; heart disease; and diabetes. There are others to consider, and you should invest intesting to ensure you know what you may need to look out for to take preventative care of your entire family. Something that may help reduce risk of injury is tomodify your home to make it more accessible. Widen doorways to allow freedom of movement, and add ramps where needed. One of the most dangerous areas of the home is the bathroom. You may want to invest in a new tub, one that is easy to enter and has a place to sit. If nothing else, grab bars are easy to install and can provide balance assistance as needed.
Picking Insurance and Planning for Costs
If your risk for long-term care is great, you will want to prepare for it financially. How close are you to retirement? This may help decide whether or not you purchase an insurance plan for long-term care. If you are worried about how to pay for such care, there are options available. Selling a life insurance policy may help support daily living expenses and medical care if you combine those funds with insurance or Medicare. However, Medicare often does not cover some of the basic tasks you may need done in your long-term care plan, such as bathing, shopping, or cleaning. Paying for these services out of pocket can be expensive and may eat away at your retirement savings. Thankfully, there are supplemental insurance plans available to ensure you or a loved one is taken care of should the need for long-term care arise. For example, Humana Medicare Advantage plans offer the same coverage as Parts A and B of Medicare. Some plans even include dental, vision, prescriptions, fitness services, caregiver support, and a 24-hour nursing advice line.
Long-term care can dramatically improve your quality of life and give your loved ones comfort that you are being well taken care of. There are plenty of questions to ask yourself while preparing and planning, and research is essential. Options are varied, and there are plans to fit every lifestyle and income level. Don’t hesitate to start considering what you or a loved one will need today.
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.