Brenda Lyle – Florida Today
Q: How Do I Plan Financially for Long-Term Care?
A: In a perfect world, financial planning would begin with the very first paycheck you earn. But the world isn’t perfect, and many seniors end up living from one Social Security check to the next — unable to prepare for what’s coming. Statistically, someone turning 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services and support in their remaining years.
Cost of Care
According to the Genworth Annual Cost of Care Survey, the average monthly cost of an assisted living facility is $4,000. A private room in a nursing home costs $10,159 monthly and a home health aide for 44 hours per week is $4,767. But the average monthly Social Security check in 2022 was $1,550. The math just won’t work. The monthly cost of care far exceeds the average earning of the retired worker on Social Security. So how will you pay the shortfall? Medicare only covers a limited number of days in a nursing home and never covers “custodial care” or long term, residential care.
I Don’t Have That Kind of money
I see clients every week who face the grim reality of needing care — without the funds to pay for it. Yes, there is Medicaid assistance available to pay for homecare and assisted living. In Florida, however, the wait list is very, very long. Nursing home Medicaid approval happens faster, but it is extremely difficult to find a long-term care bed. We are urging, even begging, adult children to start the conversation early with their parents about paying for long-term care.
How Do I Save for Long Term Care?
Some financially savvy people are able to self-insure. They calculate their life expectancy based on current health conditions and family history. Then they set aside money, usually in investments, to cover the cost of future care. It’s tough to figure this out, but AARP has online calculators that allow you to guesstimate how much money you might need for care. Long-term care insurance policies are another option; just keep in mind the premiums will increase as you age. There are also annuities with long-term care riders.
Planning for long-term care is sometimes replaced with, “I hope that won’t happen to me.” But hope is not a plan. Please talk with your financial planner or insurance broker about your options. You can learn more by attending one of the frequent seminars on long-term care planning at One Senior Place. Check the events calendar at OneSeniorPlace.com and start preparing for your aging journey.
One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to AskOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.
Brenda Lyle is a Certified Care Manager and Certified Dementia Practitioner with One Senior Place, Greater Orlando.