Expecting the Unexpected: Planning for Long Term Care Needs
Let’s take a look at the various types of long term care services available, and to prepare to pay for it.
The Growing Need for Long Term Care
According to Genworth, every day for the next 10 years, over 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach the age of 65. Within this group, 70% of that population will require some sort of long term care during their lifetimes. Let’s take a look at the various types of long term care services available, and to prepare to pay for it.
Levels of Long Term Care
Generally speaking, long term care types can be broken down into three main categories:
- Home Care
- Assisted Living Community
- Memory Care Community
Home Care services are designed for older people who are able to still safely remain in their own homes, but require some assistance with the tasks of daily life.
Home care providers vary from being simple companions, to helping seniors with a range of everyday activities, such as bathing, using the bathroom, light housekeeping, laundry, shopping, or rides to the doctor.
More complex support is provided by credentialed professionals such as Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) or Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) who assist with such tasks as blood pressure monitoring, medication management, wound care, and more.
Typically, home care providers are not present in a senior’s home twenty four hours per day, but this can vary depending upon a person’s specific needs.
Assisted Living Community
Assisted Living communities are for older people who want to live as independently as possible, but need help with what are known as the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). ADLs include dressing, bathing, eating, using the restroom and moving about.
Assisted Living communities provide 24 hour, 7 days a week care and are staffed by formally trained medical professionals, such as Registered Nurses (RNs), Certified Nursing Assistances (CNAs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs). This care model is ideal for older people who need a more medically- based care setting.
Many Assisted Living communities offer an array of amenities and services, including:
- Private Apartments
- 5-Star Restaurant Quality Dining
- Movie Room
- Inviting Common Areas
- Beauty Salon
- Manicures & Pedicures
- Linen Services
- Exciting Events & Activities
- Medication Management
Assisted Living communities also offer residents the chance to enjoy many events and activities with other seniors who live there.
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Memory Care Communities
Memory Care communities are focused on providing services to residents who are living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. These residents also normally require assistance with the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), but have additional needs due to cognitive decline.
A Memory Care community is normally staffed by a Medical Director who oversees residents’ medication and overall care, as well as Registered Nurses (RNs) and other professionals specifically trained to assist people with various forms of dementia.
Like Assisted Living, Memory Care residents are provided a full-range of amenities, services, and events which they can participate in.
Paying for Long Term Care Services
The methods people use to fund expenses associated with long term care can vary greatly. Here are some of the most common ways people pay for these services.
- Private Assets
- Long Term Care Insurance
- Social Security & Medicare
- Veterans Administration Benefits
Private assets include personal savings or retirement accounts, proceeds from the sale of a house, or other private financial resources. Older people are advised to work with a qualified financial advisor to best plan for long term care expense needs.
Many senior living communities have qualified staff members who are specially trained to help residents in this area as well.
Long Term Care Insurance
Some seniors purchase a Long Term Care insurance policy, which covers the cost of Home Care, Assisted Living, or Memory Care services. Long Term Care insurance benefits vary, based upon the level of coverage the insured person purchased at the time of policy issuance.
The time duration of Long Term Care coverage can range from 2 years, 5 years, or a lifetime of benefits. The key to purchasing Long Term Care insurance is that it must be obtained before there is a need for services.
A knowledgeable financial advisor can be very helpful in understanding the role Long Term Care insurance plays in a senior’s needs planning.
Social Security & Medicare
Monthly Social Security payments can be used to fund long term care expenses, but are limited to the amount of money a senior receives each month.
It is also important to understand before there is a need for long term care that Medicare does not pay for the living costs of Home Care, Assisted Living, or Memory Care services. However, Medicare can help fund other expenses such as medication, medical bills, and durable medical equipment.
Veterans Administration Benefits
For seniors who have served in the military, the Veterans Administration (VA) has programs to help pay for certain long term care expenses. VA benefits don’t pay for direct housing costs, but does offer assistance through the Aid and Attendance benefit. In order to qualify, veterans must meet certain income requirements and have difficulty performing Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) on their own safely.
Being Prepared for the Future
Thanks to modern medicine, technology, and other advances, people are living longer than ever before. As 7 out of 10 seniors will need some sort of long term care in their lifetimes, it is important to plan for these expenses as best as possible.
Working with a qualified professional to develop a strategy for funding long term care costs is a good idea and will save time, money, and a considerable amount of stress later on.
Frontier Management is Here to Help
The compassionate team at Frontier Management has helped many older people find the perfect Senior Living community to match their unique needs.
If you would like more information on our services, or to discuss long term care financial planning with one of our experienced professionals, we cordially invite you to visit one of our properties, take a tour and speak with our friendly and caring staff.