Planning For The Cost of Assisted Living
We’re all getting older and the day will come when we’ll be in need of Senior Care. This will come in the form of In Home Care and/or assisted living. Given it’s certainty, it’s never to early to start planning for the cost of assisted living. According to Genworth’s “Cost of Care” survey for 2015, the national average rate for Assisted Living / Residential Personal Care Services is $3600.00 per month; or roughly $43,000.00 annually. “That’s a lot of change under the couch cushions”, as my friend would say.
If you asked your neighbors how they plan to spend their late-retirement years – most, if not all, would not include the term “Assisted Living” in their response. Yet the need for some form of assistance and / or personal care services is almost certain if you live long enough; and people are living longer nowadays but still not planning for what appears to be the inevitable.
The Security of Diverse Assets
Most people, like my mom who will be 88 this year, pay for assisted living out of their own pocket using a combination of Social Security, pensions, and savings. Fortunately, my father had made certain provisions for her just in case of his untimely death; which occurred when he was only 67 years of age. And still, if it had not been for the sale of her home during the real estate boom of 2007, she would not have had enough money to carry her on through her later years.
Today, many seniors are faced with the challenge of how to pay for needed care. My first piece of advice for someone seeking help in the planning process for retirement years and later is too speak to an expert; someone you trust to help you plan for the future. Here are a few more traditional ways to pay for care as one ages.
Long Term Care Insurance can be a lifesaver for many when it comes to covering the cost of assisted living. There are all kinds of policies out there so investigate them carefully and make the best decision for you…but do it sooner than later as the older you are, the pricier the policy. Plus, insurers vary widely in their criteria; so look at more than one company to make a wise choice.
Have You Served Your Country?
Aid and Attendance is a benefit from the Veteran’s Administration for people who have served their country during wartime. There are specific requirements to receive this benefit and spouses of veterans may also be eligible. This benefit can help pay from a third to almost half of the cost of assisted living residences depending on the community chosen. You can find more information about this program on the V.A. web site.
Many people ask me about Medicare and Medicaid programs paying for assisted living. Medicare may pay for short-term rehab in a licensed senior care community. Traditionally, however, this is reserved for skilled nursing and rehab centers. Some states have Medicaid programs that will now pay for assisted living and home based care programs in an effort to delay entering a skilled nursing center. This varies from state to state.
There are more non-traditional ways to pay for assisted living. These options may also carry more risk to the buyer. If you have a life insurance policy you may be able to sell it for a percentage of the value in return for money to use now for care. Also, many people have seen commercials for reverse mortgages; which is basically a home equity loan. These options are less desirable for sure, but either may be what is necessary to obtain the care needed when other options do not exist.
Then there’s always the lottery. I’m not recommending that strategy however.
Plan well my friends.
-Rich Delong (Executive Director – The Station Exchange, Richmond Hill GA)
Stay Healthy And Happy My Friends.