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Tuesday July 10, 2018

Planning for Your Future: Long-Term Care
posted by June Duncan
Tags: In the news 

Right now, you are living it up in your golden years, or perhaps you are just now approaching retirement age. No matter what age you are, it’s never too early to think about the likelihood that you’ll need long-term care, as well as how you plan to pay for it. If you are yet to be convinced, consider these statistics courtesy of The Morning Star.

● 15 million Americans will have some type of long-term care need by 2050.

● Of those Americans turning 65, 52.3 percent will need long-term care in their lifetime.

● 57.5 percent of those turning 65 in the years 2015-2019 will spend at least $25,000 on long-term care.

● 21.9 percent of long-term care costs will be paid out of pocket.

It’s safe to say that you will need some form of long-term care in your lifetime, so start thinking about it now.

Assess Current and Future Needs

It’s impossible to know for sure if you’ll need long-term care, but you can certainly assess the likelihood. Take a look at your health and lifestyle choices. Are your daily choices working to protect your health, or could your sedentary ways and poor nutrition choices hurt you in the long run? What about any hereditary illnesses or conditions that could impact you in the future? With the rising cost of long-term care, perhaps now is the time to consider home modifications to enable you to age in place and remain independent for as long as is safe. Any plans you make need to be discussed with family, especially if you would like for them to take on a caregiver role. Oftentimes, family is willing to help, but they forget to factor in the costs, time, and stress that come with it. Keep in mind that your plan isn’t set in stone, and should be revisited often.

Protect Yourself Now

There’s no other way to say it: long-term care is expensive. However, don’t let lack of knowledge and information lead you to think you are covered. According to, Medicare does not cover long-term care, and you will need to buy a long-term care insurance plan to cover your costs. Rather than wait until the need arises, start shopping around for plans to take advantage of lower premiums. Think of long-term care insurance like fire insurance; most people keep fire insurance long after their mortgage is paid off because they like knowing they are covered should tragedy strike. Yet, when it comes to arranging long-term care insurance, many people hesitate, saying, “What if I don’t need it?” Of course, the whole point of this type of coverage, like auto insurance, is that you can’t know this,” ABC News points out.

Other Ways to Pay

Insurance can get pricey, but fortunately, there are other ways to pay for long-term care. If you are still working, open up a health savings account (HSA). You can deposit as much as $3,450 in tax-deductible contributions, and those 55 years and older can add an additional $1,000. The best part is that withdrawals aren’t taxed and can be used for important expenses such as long-term care or premiums on a long-term care policy. If you are a veteran, you need to get in touch with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to see if you qualify for the Veterans Affairs Aid and Attendance (A&A) benefit. Unfortunately, many people don’t know the program exists. Veterans can qualify for up to $1,794 per month, while their surviving spouse can qualify for $1,153. “The money, which is tax-free, can be used for in-home care, board and care, an assisted living community or a private-pay nursing home,” Forbes says, enabling you to cover long-term care across the board.

Long-term care is a necessity as we age, so planning ahead now saves you time, money, and unnecessary stress. Assess the likelihood that you will need long-term care and discuss your future plans with family. Make plans for how you will cover the cost of long-term care, giving you peace of mind now and in the future.


June is the co-creator of Rise Up for Caregivers, which offers support for family members and friends who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their loved ones. She is author of the upcoming book, The Complete Guide to Caregiving: A Daily Companion for New Senior Caregivers.