November is Long-Term Care Awareness Month! It’s the perfect opportunity to plan for your long-term care needs, and discuss these needs with your loved ones; ensure everyone understands your wishes, and what roles they may play in helping you realize your care goals.
With Thanksgiving and the holiday season approaching, you may be looking forward to spending time with family and loved ones. While these upcoming gatherings are great opportunities to catch up on your life today, they can also be a chance to plan for your future. We at HCG Secure encourage you to begin conversations about your extended care needs now, and make sure everyone is on the same page about the ways in which you may need more support later in life.
Extended care services and supports are expensive. Adult day care costs over $20,000; home care is about $60,000; and nursing home care comes in at over $100,000 annually. While for some, these costs may be in reach, for most Americans this is not the case – especially given the average length of necessary care in the U.S. is about three years. You should take stock of your finances, what type of care you hope to receive, and how much of the associated costs you’ll likely be able to afford in retirement. Insurance can be a great option to help cover these costs. Check out our past blog post, Why LTC Insurance, to better understand coverage types.
Once you understand how your financial situation will help or hinder you in receiving the type of care you want, discuss any gaps with your loved ones. They may be willing to help you afford an insurance policy now to offset future costs or family caregiving needs, and it is important to understand what financial or caregiving support those loved ones will be willing and able to offer you. Find some specific topics and questions you may want to consider here:
- Where do you see yourself aging? At home, in a loved one’s home, in an assisted living facility?
- Can you see your care setting changing? For example, if your care needs become more intense, would you consider moving to a nursing home or somewhere with more constant assistance available? And, at what point would that be necessary?
- How do you plan to afford your care needs? Whether it’s in-home help, or facility-based care, understand these costs and your payment options between out-of-pocket, insurance, and assistance from loved one.
- Do you expect your loved ones to take on caregiving and how much or how often? How available are loved ones to help with your care, given their personal and family lives, financial situation, and geographical location?
- How often should loved ones continue to check in on your physical and cognitive health, so you can execute your plan quickly when care becomes necessary?
Both financial, emotional and physical caregiving considerations should be at the center of these conversations. As you gather around the table and enjoy your Thanksgiving meal this week, consider starting these conversations – in advance of your time of need. This way, when you do need care, your expectations for assistance and support won’t come as a huge surprise for those who love you, and likely want to support you as best they can!