Planning for Long-Term Alzheimer’s Care
Putting financial plans in place is important for everyone, but understanding money matters is especially vital for a person living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Once a person is diagnosed, family and friends should help the person make financial plans. The sooner the plans can begin, the more the person with dementia may be able to participate.
1. Getting Started
Most people envision themselves living a long happy life, planning and saving throughout their working years to create a financially secure future where they can enjoy spending time with family and doing the things they love the most.
As a part of your financial planning process, it’s important to understand the potential impact that needing long-term care may have on your assets, your family and your future.
The reality is, the longer that you live, the more likely it is that you will require long-term care. The costs associated with needing care are hefty. While it can take decades to accumulate the assets you’ll need to retire comfortably, just a few years of paying for long-term care may threaten a lifetime of savings.
Emotional & Physical Burdens
If you’ve ever been in a care giving situation, than you understand the emotional and physical toll it can take on you and your family. While providing care to your loved one is considered an act of compassion, placing these burdens on spouses, children and other family members can create a significant emotional and physical strain, which most people would like to avoid.
Consequences of Not Having a Plan
Waiting to address your long-term care needs, until the time that you actually require care, may significantly impact your financial situation, your quality of life and your ability to maintain your independence. Incorporating long-term care insurance into your assets, reduce the burden of care that would otherwise fall on family members, and enable you to receive care in the setting you most prefer, usually being your home.
One of the greatest benefits is that long-term care insurance can allow loved ones to care about you, instead of having to care for you!
What’s Your Real Risk?
Many Americans can’t imagine a time when they will need assistance with basic living activities like bathing and dressing. The fact is that 70% of people who reach the age of 65 will require long-term care services at some point in their lives.
Perhaps the biggest risk of all relates to the length of time for which you may need to receive care services. It is impossible to predict the future. Some people may only need a few months of care, while others may need many years worth of care. Others, such as those living with Alzheimer’s disease, might need 24-hour care for many years. Paying out of pocket for services will begin to add up quickly and take a toll on you and your family. Long-term care insurance helps provide protection against these risks.
2. The Planning Process
Once you understand the risks that come with needing long-term care, you’re ready to start the planning process. As you weigh your decision to purchase long-term care insurance, there are a variety of factors to consider, which include:
- Where do you plan to live when you retire?
- Where would you prefer to receive care?
- How much of your long-term care expenses are you willing, or able, to pay out of pocket?
Here are a few common mistakes that you can avoid:
- Waiting Too Long to Address the Issue-
Since the cost of long-term care insurance is usually based on your age and health when you apply, the older you are, the higher the costs may be.
- Insuring One Spouse, But Not the Other
This creates a serious problem. Regardless of which person is not covered, the risk of needing care for the uninsured is far too great.
- Assuming You Can Cover the Cost of Care
People often overestimate their ability to pay for care over an extended period, or convince themselves that they’ll never need care but the risk of needing and paying for care remains.
3. The Next Step
You’ve taken an important step by reviewing the information on this page. One of the smartest steps you can take next is to simply talk with your loved ones about how long-term care may impact your family. If you have elderly parents or other relatives who have needed care, you may already see the need to plan ahead for your own needs.
Talk to an insurance or financial professional to find out what may be best for your situation.
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