Financing Long Term Care – Helping Elder Parents Pay for their Long Term Care

You may already be taking care of elderly parents or may be looking at the possibility in the near future. According to a report from USATODAY/ABC News/Gallup Poll, 41% of baby boomers are currently helping take care of elderly parents by providing personal help or financial assistance or both.

If planning for long term care financing has not been done prior to the need for care, the monetary burden will fall on the caregiving family member. Decisions about how long term care will be paid for, who will be responsible for managing the elderly parent’s estate, as well as how the long term care will be given can cause stress and contention among family members.

It is best for elderly parents and all family members to be involved in planning for the parents’ future financial and long term care needs. The financial resources that are being used today could change drastically with the occurrence of a parent’s stroke, illness or the onset of dementia. In order to plan financially for long term care, you need to know what the costs are now and what they will be in the future.

Every year MetLife does a survey of the current long term care costs. Their 2010 survey shows that the average daily rate for a private nursing home is $229 which is up from $219 in 2009. The monthly base rate costs for assisted living rose to $3,293 in 2010 from $3131 in 2009. In addition, home health aids average $21 an hour.

Planning long term financial needs can be very difficult, considering you do not know when long term care will be required or how long it will be needed. You can determine what will be needed in certain living situations. Staying in your home for care will require Professional Home Care assistance, travel accommodations to doctor appointments, help with shopping, preparing meals, purchasing medical supplies and medication, and possibly the need for a 24-hour attendant. Even if a family member is doing most of the care, eventually professional care will be required or a move to a nursing home facility will be necessary.

When evaluating your present income and assets ask yourself the following questions regarding financing long term care:

•What are my long-term care options?
•What type of long-term care can I afford?
•Do I have long term care insurance?
•Are there assets I can sell if I need long term care?
•If I am able to stay at home, how will I pay for care?
•Will I have to sell my house to pay for other living arrangements?
•Are there other alternatives that can help with financing long term care?
•Do I have life Insurance or the means to pay for a funeral and burial?
•Will my spouse be cared for financially?
•Should I do Medicaid planning?
•Do I have the legal documents that may be needed if I require long term care?

Long term care insurance is one option for paying for care. Long term care insurance helps pay for the care you need when you can no longer care for yourself. It can protect your family’s financial future and your own investments. There are qualifications that need to be met with health and age. This type of insurance is more expensive the older the person and almost impossible to get if age related illness has already occurred.

Professional Geriatric Care Managers, Senior Financial Planners, Elder Law Attorneys, and Veterans Benefits Specialists can assist you in evaluating your needs and future planning.

Professional Geriatric Care Managers can provide a medical and psycho-social assessment, and based on the results, provide you with specific recommendations based upon your circumstances. They assist families to navigate the complicated waters of complex care, including rehabilitation, assisted living, and skilled nursing facilities. They can attend doctor appointments as the advocate, ensure continuity of care, and provide follow up and update reports to family.

Senior Financial Planners are experts in helping seniors and their families set up financial plans to fund long term care. They usually work closely with a Professional Geriatric Care Manager and an Elder law Attorney in order to give you all options and resources for care.

Elder Law Attorneys are available to help with Medicaid Planning and Asset protection as well as for consultations and the drafting of the legal documents needed for final requests.

If the elderly person desires to remain in their home for long term care, a Reverse Mortgage can often help supply the funds to pay for home care.

Another option for veterans who served during a time of war is the Aid & Attendance Benefit. This benefit provides extra income up to $1,949 to help pay for home care, assisted living and medical costs. It will also pay for widows or widowers of the Veteran. To learn more about how to qualify for these benefits, contact a Veteran Benefit Consultant in your area.

Knowing your needs and the extent of financial resources is paramount before making any long term care decisions. By working together to plan for financing long term care, both the elderly parents and their family members can ease the stress and burden of long term care needs.

For more information about financing long term care and to find out how our Geriatric Care Managers can help in the South Florida area, please contact Advocare at 888-615-1818 or 954-349-3133.

Comments are closed.