Dollars & Sense - Long-Term Care Options

Roughly four out of ten people age 65 or older will need at least some long-term care, either at home, in an assisted living facility, or in a nursing home. The majority of people who live into their eighties or even nineties do so in relatively good health. For those that aren’t that fortunate, care can be expensive. Traditionally, care for an elderly relative has been given in the home by unpaid members of the family. With fewer family members available to stay at home and provide this needed care, demand is growing for professional help. Professional help is expensive. Lifetime care costs for an Alzheimer’s patient can easily be as much as $175,000. Be aware that Medicare and Medigap policies cover only a portion of long-term care costs up to 100 days of skilled nursing care and only if the need follows a hospital stay. Although one third of the nation’s long-term care costs are born by the individual from his or her savings and income, one out of three families who care for a seriously ill family member completely deplete their savings. One way of preserving some of the family’s assets is to buy a life insurance policy that pays out a long term care benefit each month until the face value is exhausted. Another solution is to purchase a long-term care insurance policy. These vary in cost, coverage and benefits. It’s important to discuss your options and the need for a long-term care policy with your financial planner before you arbitrarily “sign-up”.

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