Perry Landon, Executive Assistant
According to estimates, if you are 61 years old now, the average annual cost of long-term care when you are 79 years old is likely to be: 1) over $180,000 per year for nursing facility care; 2) over $69,000 per year for assisted living care; and, 3) over $80,000 per year for in-home care.
According to the US Government Administration on Aging, “70% of the people who turn 65 can expect to use some form of long-term care during their lifetimes.” Also, according to the Administration on Aging, “one-third of today’s 65 year-olds may never need support, but 20 percent will need it for longer than 5 years.”
So, based upon the skyrocketing costs of long-term care, and the odds that two-thirds of us may someday need long-term care, should we plan ahead? The answer is YES.
Planning Ahead Means Many Things
- Learning about the different long-term care options, and considering which of those options for receiving the care would be your preference;
- Considering the impact that long-term care costs can have on your lifestyle and quality of life, as well as the impact that it can have on your spouse, your children, and your retirement and financial goals;
- Investigating how the risk of long-term care can be shifted from your pocket book to another source of payment: Medicare and Medicaid, Veteran’s Administration, Health Insurance, Long-Term Care Insurance;
- Meeting with a trusted advisor, or team of advisors (elder law attorney, financial advisor, accountant) and establishing a comprehensive estate plan that is customized to meet your long-term care goals, including legal tools that will help you achieve those goals; and
- Carrying out your estate plan and then reviewing it on a periodic basis with your attorney, and other trusted advisors.
Top 5 Reasons to Plan Ahead
- Protect you and your family from financial devastation.
- Preserve the right to choose the type of care you want.
- Reduce the stress on you and your family when a medical crisis occurs.
- Give yourself peace of mind now and in the future.
- Allow for the quality of life you deserve.
Long-Term Care Planning Options
Few of us are fortunate enough to have the financial resources to “self-insure” against the cost of long-term care. Some of us do have the financial resources to shift the risk of long-term care costs to insurance companies, by purchasing one of any number of long-term care insurance products. Others of us will decide to take steps to protect our savings utilizing legal tools like irrevocable trusts, perhaps in combination with long-term care insurance. And, many of us will have to rely on government insurance programs to assist with the cost of long-term care.
Is doing no planning an option? Of course. And if you are lucky enough to be one of the one-third who never needs long-term care that may work well for you. But the “do-nothing” approach fails miserably if a medical crisis occurs, and there is no plan, or even no thought of what the plan should be.
There is no “one size fits all” long-term care plan. However, there is a plan to fit your goals and needs. But I don’t recommend trying to figure that plan out on your own. Rely on the knowledge of professionals who understand the legal, financial, and psycho-social impact of long-term care, and who will give you the guidance you need. You’ll be glad you did.