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The importance of planning for long-term care needs

As an individual ages and moves through different stages in life, there are always concerns that must be addressed and questions answered. For individuals nearing retirement, chief concerns often relate to ensuring for one's own financial security as well as that of a spouse. As one lives out his or her retirement years, concerns may shift to include health matters as well as living arrangements.

In cases where an individual experiences a decline in their health and physical abilities, it may become unsafe to remain in one's own home. With the assistance of relatives or close friends, some aging individuals may be able to stay in their homes or move into the homes of a grown son or daughter. However, a significant percentage will come to rely upon assisted living and nursing homes and the costs associated with these types of facilities are significant.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the average resident at a nursing home can expect to pay anywhere from $74,000 to more than $83,000 per year. While less expensive, at more than $40,000, the costs associated with living at an assisted living facility are still hefty and prohibitive for many people. Even the average cost of $21 per hour associated with an in-home health aide is often too expensive for many elderly individuals who are on fixed incomes.

Individuals who are interested in learning more about how to prepare for and afford long-term care costs would be wise to seek the advice and assistance of an attorney who handles estate planning matters. An attorney can explain what Medicare and Medicaid covers, help an individual develop a long-term care plan for future living and healthcare needs and assist in establishing other vital estate planning documents like a living will.

Source: Longtermcare.gov, "Costs of Care," Oct. 2, 2015

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