The cost of senior care is fairly well documented. According to some accounts, caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease can cost families around nod $60,000 per year. Some of this cost is covered by insurance, but much of it is not. This number can vary from family to family, depending on the situation that each individual finds themselves in, where they are located, and a variety of other factors. The bottom line? Care is never cheap.
So, how do we prepare our families and ourselves for the often overwhelming burden of the financial side of senior care? That’s a tough one, but I will do my best to give you an idea of a very basic framework.
Preparation is the biggest thing that you can do. Think about planning for retirement. If you start investing in your retirement account when you are 25, you will have a lot more money at age 65 than you would if you started investing money at age 45. That extra 20 years of investing time allows you to start adding compound interest to your savings, helping your interest work for you sooner, turning your investment into a far larger number over time.
Your retirement money might seem like something that you will use to buy food, go on vacation with, pay off your home, and live comfortably on for the rest of your days. And yes, that’s certainly a part of it. But in fact, more and more people are using their retirement fund to help pay for senior care. Given the fact that more than 50 percent of people need some sort of long term care in their senior years, it can only be assumed that one member of a couple will need to use their money to help pay for these expenses. The sooner you start saving for retirement, the more money there will be for care. And the more money there is for care, the more money there will be left over so that you can afford things like a vacation.
Next, we need to think of the various methods other than with our own cash that we can pay for care. Insurance is what most people turn to, and this is more than complicated enough to keep you occupied for many hours. There is Medicare and Medi-Cal to consider, along with private insurance, both health and long term care. Home health care insurance is also an option. These things need to be purchased well before they are needed, and the cost may be prohibitive to some people. However, the monthly cost of these types of insurance is almost guaranteed to be cheaper than paying out of pocket. This process needs to be started early, and many people are unaware that long term care insurance even exists. It’s not right for everyone, but many will benefit. If you have questions about insurance, get in touch with a trusted representative with your questions.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask around about care help. Programs like the VA, senior services, and more are there to help those in need. They may even have programs that you can apply to to get discounted care.