Once You Hit Age 50 Aging in Place Becomes Attractive Idea
Prepared for aging? Surveys say most of us want to stay in our home as we grow old. Whether you need future long-term care or not, your health, body, and mind will change as you get older, and planning is essential.
The increased lifespans that we enjoy today bring challenges as you prepare for life after you retire. How will you and your family address the costs and burdens of health care in the decades ahead?
When you are thinking about retirement planning, you also start thinking about where you might live. Will you move? Will you stay in your current home? Perhaps you will consider a retirement community?
As we get older, we see declines in our health, body, and mind. Many of us will need help with daily living activities, and others will require supervision due to dementia.
If you need long-term health care, where would you receive the care? How would you pay for the care? Which family member will either manage the situation or even provide the care?
People require long-term care services and supports due to an illness, accident, or the impact of aging. One of the concerns many people have is the risk of cognitive impairment. The number of people living with dementia will rise significantly in the years ahead.
Over the next 20 years, the total number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias in the U.S. is expected to approximately double from 7.2 million to nearly 13 million, with 8.5 million women and 4.5 million men.
Where would you receive your future care? Will you age-in-place or move to a more “age-friendly” home? When you need long-term care, who will provide it, and how will it be funded? These are important questions to consider before you get older.
Long Lifespans and Economic Uncertainty Add to Overall Risk
When you add unexpected events like the COVID-19 virus crisis and economic uncertainty in the years ahead, planning for the financial costs and burdens of aging and the related issues of housing and funding your needs for a long lifespan, you need to start planning for these eventualities.
“Living through this COVID-19 pandemic has really made it imperative for people to plan for the unknown future. Important questions need to be answered before emergencies arise so that families feel comfortable helping loved ones in need,” said Jenny Novy, a geriatric expert and President of an Amada Senior Care franchise in Niles, Illinois. Amada Senior Care provides in-home senior care, Long-Term Care Insurance claims management and guidance for families throughout the country.
Novy says it is essential to start having conversations with your family and how you wish to “age-in-place.” The answer to this question is dependent on what is happening. If you are relatively healthy and independent but are just older, your answer could be very different than if you need long-term care.
There are senior independent living centers that are “age-friendly” which allows a person to live independently but allows access to an environment conducive to older people and their needs.
Retirement communities have also become popular in recent years. These are communities where people have townhomes designed for people to age-in-place. These communities also have many community activities and social events for adults 55+.
“Financial planning is essential to ensure you can live out your ideal retirement. As we age, we have to consider our health, our support system, diverse ways to pay for care, and how we can stay in control of our destiny,” Novy explained.
Long-Term Care Costs Increasing
The high costs of long-term health care will complicate your future retirement. These long-term care costs will continue to grow in the decades ahead. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator will show you both the current and future costs of care throughout the country. You can see how these costs will adversely impact your savings, lifestyle, and legacy.
The risk of dementia is expected to increase by 9% due primarily to lifestyle health issues like cardiovascular health and chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension, and obesity, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Women still enjoy greater longevity and thus are at even greater risk for extended care. Women tend to thrive in a care environment better than men. This doesn’t mean men do not need care, but typically, by the time a woman requires care, the male is either incapable of providing the care or no longer living.
Because of women’s longevity, they experience more cognitive decline than men. However, there is some debate that longevity is not the only reason more women suffer from dementia. A leading neuroscientist Roberta Brinton asserts that “women are not getting the disease more often because they live longer than men, but because they undergo perimenopause beginning in their 40s, causing a shift in brain chemistry.”
Those with Dementia Typically Have Other Chronic Health Issues
Often, those with dementia also suffer from other chronic health issues that require extended care.
No matter, ignoring the risks of future long-term care and the consequences of such an event on your family and finances is not wise.
Long-Term Care Usually Starts at Home
Most long-term health care is delivered in one's home, including a majority of individuals living with dementia. With more adult day care centers available in communities, people who need care can delay or avoid the need for a long-term care facility.
Assisted living facilities have become popular for those who need assistance, but their home is not age-friendly, or the person or couple likes the idea of the community environment and safety of assisted living without the need for a more institutional and costly nursing home.
Advance planning avoids a family crisis and gives people more control. However, planning ahead means just that. You can't wait until a need arises to address these issues. For many American families, affordable Long-Term Care Insurance is a potential solution.
The policies provide guaranteed tax-free benefits, giving the policyholder access to their care choice without placing stress and burden on their loved ones.
Planning Starts Early
Experts suggest planning in your 40s or 50s as part of an overall retirement plan. Being in control and maintaining independence as we age is made easier with planning. There are adverse consequences when we ignore the obvious, and these consequences fall on your family and your finances.
LTC Insurance Helps You Stay at Home
One of the fallacies people have about Long-Term Care Insurance is that it only covers care in a nursing home, and most Long-Term Care Insurance claims start with in-home care.
The truth is when you own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy who own a solution that helps you avoid being dependent on your family and keeps you in control.
You will have the tax-free benefits to pay for your choice of quality care options, including care in your home. Your loved ones will then have the time to be family instead of caregivers.
You get to avoid a nursing home, and you will have a better quality of life as your family faces less anxiety and burden.
Seek the assistance of a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you navigate these options and find appropriate coverage and save money doing so.
A Long-Term Care Insurance specialist can help you find the best options from among all the top companies. Premiums vary by over 100% between insurance companies, and plans vary. Find a qualified specialist - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.
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Start the process of tomorrow today before you retire when you still have good health and can take advantage of much lower premiums.
About the Author
Linda is a freelance writer interested in retirement planning, health and aging.
Contributor since October 31st, 2017
If you are in your 40s or 50s, you are at the prime age for having a Long-Term Care Insurance policy in place. Tax advantages are available for some people, including business owners. Learn about the tax advantages by reading the Long-Term Care Tax Benefits Guide.
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