Breaking Through the Confusion of Long-Term Care


Long-term care can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, but it’s one of the least planned for expenses of retirement. We get it. Long-term care can be confusing and complicated. 

Where are you even supposed to start? And how are you supposed to know how much care you need? 

Plus, no one wants to think that they might one day be unable to care for themselves and need help with their everyday tasks. 

We all want to think that we’ll be healthy forever, but this is obviously not a reality. 

In fact, 70 percent of those ages 65 and older will need long-term care at some point. So, how do you plan for this likely expense?

Determining How Much Long-Term Care You’ll Need

Before you can start reasonably planning to pay for long-term care, you need to figure out how much long-term care you might realistically need. 

Statistically speaking, you are more likely to need some sort of long-term care than not need any at all. However, how much long-term care you’ll need and what kind can vary widely. 

Long-term care can mean anything from a short stay in a nursing home after a fall to in-home care twice a week to living in an assisted living facility. 

To determine what type of long-term care you are likely to need, we suggest taking a close look at your current health situation. 

How is your overall health? According to Health Management Technology, approximately 30 percent of your health is based on your behaviors. 

This includes things such as eating healthy, exercising regularly, and not abusing alcohol. 

Luckily, this means that you can affect your health trajectory by adopting healthy habits, and it’s never too late to start. 

For instance, if you’re a senior with a Medicare Advantage plan, you can take advantage of the SilverSneakers program. 

Advantage plans from UnitedHealthcare and other providers give you eligibility to this program, which means you can access fitness facilities around the country. 

As you age, you should also consider modifying your home to limit the likelihood of a fall, which is one of the leading causes of needing long-term care.

Of course, there are some things that play a role in your health that you cannot control. 

Being prone to certain age-related illnesses can increase the likelihood that you will need long-term care at some point. 

If heart disease runs in your family, for example, you’re more likely to be affected by it at some point. 

By considering both the factors you can control and those you can’t, you can get some idea of how much long-term care you may need.

Determining How You Will Pay for It

Now that you know the likelihood of needing long-term care, you need to figure out how you’ll pay for it. 

Preferably, you would have planned for long-term care long before retirement and planned accordingly. 

However, this is not always a reality. If you still have some planning time left, we recommend saving what you can in anticipation for the cost of long-term care. 

You might also want to consider long-term care insurance. Long-term care insurance is designed to pay for custodial care, such as a nursing home or in-home care. 

Health insurance and Medicare does not pay for these things, so having another insurance plan to cover these expenses can be crucial.

If you have suddenly been hit with a long-term care bill, you may be considering selling your home in order to help pay for it. 

You should consider how much your home is likely to sell for based on your local real estate market before putting up that “For Sale” sign, however. 

For example, a home in Spring Valley sells for an average price of $190,000. While selling your home is sometimes the only option, it should only be sold as a last resort. 

Obviously, you can’t sell your home if you want to age in place and have a caregiver in your home. 

However, it is a possible scenario for many others who choose to live in assisted living or a nursing home, especially with assisted living facilities in Minnesota averaging $3,468 a month.

Planning for long-term care can seem overwhelming and expensive. 

However, it is absolutely necessary. By reviewing this guide, you’ll develop a good foundation for your long-term care needs.



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