By June Duncan of Rise Up For Caregivers


No one wants to think about living out their golden years in a nursing home, but it becomes a reality for many people across the globe. According to Forbes, 70 percent of people aged 65 and over will spend time in such a facility. If you are prepared for this kind of event, the transition from living on your own to living with professional assistance will be much easier. Below are a few tips from Meridian Health Care that will serve when it comes to planning for both the need and the costs of long-term care.


What Will Your Needs Be Down the Road?


While nothing is certain, several factors can give you a good indication of the likelihood you will need long-term care. Healthline provides a helpful article about why family history is hugely important in determining your own chances of needing long-term care. Although it’s true that your health will not be exactly the same as your parents’, their history can serve as a fairly reliable indication. You will be less likely to need care if your parents lived to old age with relatively few health problems. However, if your parents experienced dementia at an early age, for instance, this could mean you should try to prepare for dealing with this situation should it happen to you.


What Is Your Current Health Situation?


Your current health and lifestyle choices play a big role in determining whether or not you’ll need LTC down the road. Are you in good health, exercising and eating healthy, or are you overweight, eating junk food, and haven’t walked farther than your front door in years? Good health can often equate to living a longer, happier life, however, if you end up with a cognitive impairment, this might entail needing care for a longer period of time. Bad health may end your life earlier, which means you may not need long-term care. Your family situation is key, as well. If you end up needing care, do you have a family member who can live with you to provide it, or will you need to pay for care yourself? Will the care be administered at home, at an assisted living facility, or in a skilled nursing facility? It’s important to determine whether your current home could be used for long-term care with a few modifications, or if it would be better to move to an entirely different situation in the event that you or a loved one needs more involved medical care.


Planning for Costs


Planning and saving for the costs of long-term care is a weighty task. Some of this will depend on timing. How close are you to retirement and potentially needing long-term care is an important aspect to consider. The earlier you can begin saving, the better. Long-term care insurance is one common method of preventing debilitating costs from adding up. This type of insurance can also be expensive, though, so you can also try a few other methods. These options include using your Social Security or your pension to pay for the care, withdrawing money from your IRA, or applying for Medicaid. Carefully consider the exact type of care you need so you’re not paying extra for unnecessary (and costly) features.


Another option to discuss is whether or not it’s a good idea to sell your home to help cover the cost of long-term care, given the current average home listing prices in your area. Ideally, regardless of home prices in your area, you should be able to see a healthy profit that will help pay for long-term care. Use this nifty tool to look up the value of house estimates before you talk to a real estate agent and put it on the market. When selling your home, you’ll need to figure in the cost of any repairs you want to address. For instance, if you discover that you have some plumbing problems that could affect the value of your home, look up local plumbing companies (don’t forget to check reviews) that can fix the issues and, possibly, give a little boost to your home’s appraisal value. Or, if you’re in a situation where you need to sell the home quickly, you could offer it “as-is.”


Plan for the Worst and Hope for the Best


As you weigh all the factors of long-term care, keep a positive outlook. LTC is a complicated topic full of confusing options, but the tips above will help guide you through the process. Your goal should be to have a plan in place that will help keep you confident — even when difficult and unexpected things happen. Knowing what you will do ahead of time goes a long way toward giving you peace.


Meridian Health Care offers quality at-home health services by healthcare professionals who strive to provide compassionate, knowledgeable assistance for seniors and those who need at-home medical support. To learn more about our services and how we can help you, please call 847-543-0045.