Like most other things in our society, the cost of senior care is going up. Inflation plays a role in this, of course, but it’s not the only factor that drives costs up. Over the last year, the median cost of a year-long stay in a nursing home has gone up by about $4,000, indicating that care in general is getting more expensive to provide. But just because care is expensive doesn’t mean that it’s not a necessity. Here are some tips that might help you and your loved ones.
If you find yourself struggling to pay for care, or if you anticipate needing to pay for the care of a loved one (or yourself) in the future, there are things that you can do to help lower your costs. First, figure out which type of care is going to be helpful for you. There’s no point paying for a nursing home when all that is needed is in-home care. Nursing homes can cost more than twice of what in-home care costs per year, so if the price of what you’re paying for is a concern, then go with the care that will help your family the most, all while still being cheaper. Assisted living facilities are often around the same price range as a full time in-home caregiver would be, too. Either can be right, depending on your needs.
Next, take preventative steps as early as you can. Some long term care insurance policies, for example, have cost of living riders associated with them. These do cost extra in your premiums, but they can be well worth it. If the policy that you purchase has a $100 per day limit, but you add on a 3 percent bonus per year, then the cost of your policy is going to go up a bit, but by the time that you use the policy, you will be getting far more than $100 per day in benefits. This is a huge advantage, so it’s worth looking into. After all, Social Security benefits have a cost of living adjustment almost every year, why shouldn’t your insurance, too?
Planning ahead should also be a priority. This isn’t something that everyone has the resources to do, but if you can start early by setting money aside in retirement accounts, then you should. Annuities can also be helpful, depending on where your money is being held. Just make sure that you are in full communication with a financial advisor who knows how these things will impact taxes at each stage of your life. Also, no one is going to hold your money for free, so there will be expenses and fees that your savings accrue. They are very helpful, but you don’t want any surprises when it comes to the taxes or expenses associated with them so you can be fully educated and prepared.
Finally, use the public resources that you have at your disposal. Health insurance through Medicare and Medi-Cal are helpful, as are VA resources, senior services, and more. If costs are a concern, checking out what these organizations can do to help you and your family.