Thinking Down The Road
I meet family members every week that ask me questions about their parent’s ability to pay for long-term care. The conversation usually starts with a question regarding Medicare and health insurance. Both entities do not help with the financial portion of care when talking about assisted living or personal care homes in the state of Georgia. Care of this type is most-always private pay by the individual and/or family members. As a result, protecting elderly parent’s assets is an absolute priority.
There are a few forms of assistance available for folks considering moving to an assisted living setting. Aid & Attendance is a program of support offered through the Veteran’s Administration. One must financially qualify for this benefit and be either a war-time veteran or spouse of a war-time veteran. The rules that govern this program are many; and I would suggest you talk to an expert in this field instead of trying to go through the application process alone. You can visit our web-site listed below for more information if needed.
The Insurance Route
A long-term care insurance policy can help pay for assisted living in most cases. Policies vary depending on the benefits chosen at the time the policy was written. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, over 70% of people over the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care. Most experts say it is a good idea to consider a LTC insurance policy between the ages of 50 and 60. Policy premiums go up dramatically after the age of 60.
Another lesser-known program for paying for care is through a life insurance policy conversion to a long-term care benefit plan; which is different from a long-term care insurance policy. Anyone who owns a life insurance policy has the right to convert it when needed. One thing to remember is the benefit will be paid directly to the care-giving community; so a need for services will be necessary to activate the program. Monthly payments vary depending on your policy value and this program may not be the answer for everyone. Your best bet is to talk to and independent financial advisor who specializes in finances for older adults.
Handling The Assets And Knowing Where There Are
Additional questions that need to be answered if you are considering helping your loved-one move to an assisted senior living setting include the following:
- Has she named a durable power of attorney (POA) to help manage finances? If you plan to help mom with her finances, bank accounts, etc… you will need to do this.
- Where does she keep her financial information? Bank account numbers, keys, records, codes, lock boxes, etc…are easy to navigate around when you know what and where they are.
- What is your dad’s monthly income and what are his expenses?
- Does he receive Social Security and/or Medicare benefits, annuities, dividends, etc…? Does he pay his bills by check or online banking?
Now You Have the Key To Affordability
This information will help you understand what your father can afford on a monthly basis; as well as determine the best way to help manage your father’s money moving forward. Never underestimate the importance of protecting elderly parent’s assets. Long-term care costs are going up every year. The average annual cost of assisted living is just under $40,000.00 – Double that figure for skilled nursing. And at-home care averages $21.00 per hour. Learn all you can now so you will be better informed when your parents or loved-one needs your help to make these critical care decisions.
-Rich Delong (Executive Director – The Station Exchange, Richmond Hill GA)
Stay Healthy And Happy My Friends.