Long Term Care Planning

Long-Term Care Planning Month and National Save for Retirement Week

If you are considering a move to senior living for yourself or a loved one, you may wonder about the costs and possible payment sources.

Questions around pricing for assisted living and other levels of senior living come into special focus in October as Long-Term Care Planning Month. In addition, National Retirement Security Week — observed this year between Oct. 15 and 21 — provides the perfect opportunity to contemplate your financial readiness for retirement living.

What are some of the different levels of living and possible methods of payment you may encounter?

Choosing a Level of Care

The level of care you need — both now and in the future — depends on a variety of factors, including your health, lifestyle, financial situation and preferred residential options. Senior living choices span a wide range, with active adult communities at one end of the spectrum. Many active adult communities provide a resort-like environment with a minimal level of amenities.

Independent living is another option for active adults who can live on their own with very little assistance, but seek more services and amenities than are typically available in active adult communities. Continuing care retirement communities often include independent living, along with higher levels of care including assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing.

For individuals who wish to continue living a vibrant lifestyle as they receive assistance with daily activities, assisted living communities often provide ideal options.

What Is Included in Assisted Living Pricing?

Assisted living communities offer help with personal care and other daily tasks as they promote a high level of engagement and socialization.

Residents benefit from numerous services and amenities, including daily meals; cultural, social and educational activities; housekeeping and laundry; transportation to medical appointments and shopping; wellness and fitness programming; medication management; and assistance with daily tasks including bathing and dressing.

Research has found that nearly 40 percent of people underestimate their future costs for assisted living, and many wrongly believe that Medicare will cover the expense. While Medicare covers certain short-term stays in skilled nursing environments, it does not pay for assisted living.

Paying for Continuing Care

Individuals moving to assisted living can choose among a variety of options to cover the costs. Personal savings and investments, along with the proceeds from selling a home, may help fund a move. For people whose homes are on the market, bridge loans can provide temporary funds.

Most people use their pension or Social Security benefits to help pay monthly fees and other expenses. Family members may choose to assist with the costs of moving or help with ongoing fees. In some cases, veterans’ benefits may help defray costs for individuals with military service.

Long-term care insurance policies typically pay some portion of fees for assisted living, and some people cash out life insurance policies to put the proceeds toward their move.

If you have questions about a move to assisted living, a knowledgeable professional can assist you in reviewing your options.