4 Steps to Prepare for Long-Term Care in Your Future

Updated: Apr 30

Guest post by June Duncan



Every adult should have a long-term care strategy, whether they think they’ll need it or not. Over half of people over the age of 65 will require long-term care at some point during their lives. Whether it’s due to a hereditary illness, an unfortunate injury, or age-related decline, long-term care will help you maintain your quality of life despite these ailments. However, the expenses can quickly burn through your retirement savings. Below are four steps to help you plan your care needs and cover the costs associated with them.

Paying


Consider Long-Term Care Insurance

Unless you have quite a substantial savings account, you will likely need long-term care insurance to help you cover the costs. It’s true that long-term care insurance is expensive, so here are some factors to think about before committing to a policy.


First, you’ll spend considerably less if you purchase your policy when you’re healthy rather than waiting until you develop a serious health condition. Remember that once you retire, your income may be significantly lower than it is now. Make sure you will still be able to pay the policy’s premiums after retirement. According to Forbes, only 2 to 7 percent of people need long-term care for more than five years. So, you can save money by choosing a policy that pays out benefits for shorter lengths of time. Look at life insurance policies that offer a long-term care rider for cheaper premiums as well.


Know Your Other Funding Options

If paying for insurance is not realistic for you, Medicare and Medicaid may be able to help you out. Medicaid is strictly reserved for people with very few assets, while Medicare is available to everyone over 65. Medicare will only cover short periods of care in nursing facilities while you recover from an illness or injury. Although it will not cover the majority of long-term care expenses, it is still extremely useful for helping seniors cover necessary medical costs. A supplemental Medicare Advantage Plan can provide coverage for additional healthcare costs including vision, dental, and prescription expenses. Since plans vary across the country, take advantage of online resources to discover the right coverage for you. For example, you can use MedicareAdvantage.com to find plans available in your state.

Planning

Anticipate Your Future Needs

When assessing your likelihood of requiring long-term care, pay attention to both your current health and the potential for future diseases. According to HuffPost, your genetics act as a kind of roadmap which can hint at various chronic conditions that you might face. Talk to your family members about health conditions you need to be prepared for. Additionally, some lifestyle factors that tend to align with healthy aging include not smoking, limiting alcoholic beverages, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly. Plus, how we respond to life stressors can predict our ability to cope with various age-related changes.


Take Action to Prevent Illness and Injury


Fortunately, there are many things you can do to mitigate your risk of injury or disease. First, make some modifications to prevent accidents in the home. Something as simple as keeping a flashlight on the nightstand can prevent dangerous falls during the night. Go through your home and take note of possible tripping hazards, such as high thresholds, slipping rugs, or uneven flooring. Additionally, installing safety rails in the bathroom and along hallways can give you something to grab if a slip does occur.


You can also make changes to your lifestyle to reduce your likelihood of illness in your golden years. A diet high in fiber, fruits, veggies, lean protein, and whole grains is ideal to support digestion and keep you in good health. This diet will also provide substantial energy to help you remain active. Also, try to learn new skills whenever possible to keep your brain young and stave off common age-related mental disorders.


Thinking about long-term care is no fun, and unfortunately, many of us put off discussing it until it's too late. Don’t get stuck paying tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket to support the quality of life for yourself or your loved one. Start planning for long-term care today so you can rest easy knowing your future is secure.



About the author

June is a devoted caregiver to her mom and she is passionate about helping and supporting her fellow caregivers. This inspired her to write her upcoming book: The Complete Guide to Caregiving: A Daily Companion for New Senior Caregivers


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