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Long-Term Care:   Assess Your Risk and Make a Financial Plan


Long-Term Care: Assess Your Risk and Make a Financial Plan


Written by Eva Benoit | |

Image via  Pexels

Image via Pexels

Who Needs Long-Term Care?

The chances that a senior will need long-term care at some point are about 50/50. When using the phrase “long-term care,” it likely conjures up images of people wasting away their golden years in a nursing home, but that’s not the case for the majority of people who end up needing it. Long-term care is a catch-all for any and all medical and non-medical services that help people live safely and comfortably when they are unable to care for themselves. While for some seniors that may involve entering an assisted living facility, for many, it might mean an in-home caregiver that helps out with daily chores as they recover from surgery.

People can be proactive when it comes to making sure they land on the better side of the coin. Certain lifestyle choices help reduce the chance of developing age-related illnesses. They can even change genetic makeup for graceful aging.  Furthermore, there are genetic tests that can detect hereditary problems before symptoms even begin to show.

  • Do not smoke. If you smoke, quit. Smoking actually damages your DNA. Also avoid drugs and only drink in moderation, if at all.

  • Eat a diet full of whole foods-- especially fresh fruits and vegetables that reduce your chance of developing heart disease, even if heart disease doesn’t run in your family.

  • Exercise regularly. Exercise keeps your weight at a healthy level, preventing obesity-related diseases. Furthermore, adding resistance and weight training to your exercise routine can help rebuild lost muscle tone. Regular exercise can even prevent early symptoms of dementia.

  • Be social. Senior loneliness is such a health threat in the United Kingdom that the government appointed a Minister for Loneliness as a response.

  • Genetic tests can help warn about diseases, including breast cancer, ovarian cancer, age-related macular degeneration, Parkinson’s disease, and more.

How to Pay for Long-Term Care: Medicare and Insurance Considerations

All the fruits and vegetables in the world can’t change happenstance-- even if you don’t think you will need long-term care, it’s still important to have a plan for paying for it. Medicare does not pay for long-term care. Even Medicare advantage plans -- like the ones offered by Humana that offer benefits for prescriptions, dental, vision, fitness services, and caregiver support -- don’t cover all types of long-term care. While long-term care insurance is an option, more and more people are opting out and looking to other methods of payment.

If you own a life insurance plan, you can sell it as a way to pay for the costs of retirement, including those of long-term care. Formally, this transaction is called a life settlement. Not all people are eligible to sell their life insurance; you have to submit health records and other information before a life settlement provider will agree. However, if you are over 65 and your policy is worth at least $50,000, it shouldn’t be a problem to sell your policy. You can receive the money in a lump sum or in regular payments so you can continuously pay for long-term care needs.

Seniors face 50/50 odds when it comes to needing long-term care. People who live active and social lifestyles fueled by a healthy diet can reduce their chances of needing long-term custodial care, but there is always a chance that something can happen. Paying for this kind of care can be a huge burden if you don’t plan for it. Medicare covers a lot of medical costs, but many of the costs associated with long-term care have to be paid out of pocket. Seniors with life insurance plans can sell them to life settlement providers as a way to free up cash that can be used on long-term care, whether they need it or not.