Deciding to move to a senior living community is a financial decision as well as an emotional one. For financial planners, talking to your clients about their future care needs as early as possible can help ensure they find a good match for their resources.

When working with clients, be ready to discuss:

1. Planning for likely health needs
No one can predict with certainty what kind of care will be needed in the future, but about 70% of seniors will require long-term care at some point after age 65. You can help clients understand what it will take to cover those costs should it be needed at some point in their lives.

You may want to suggest that clients meet with their doctors to discuss their current health and medical history as well as their family’s health and longevity patterns. This will help them identify what type of care they might need to pay for in the future, a critical consideration because different levels of care carry different financial commitments and payer sources.

2. The cost of assisted living and other long-term care options
Make sure you understand the costs associated with various senior living options. We are always happy to talk to financial advisers and help them prepare for conversations with clients.

When possible, ask your clients well in advance about their perceptions of the cost of assisted living services. Make sure they have a realistic idea about how much they will need to finance their care needs. Planning ahead may mean they have more options and resources available to help cover the costs in the future.

3. Incorporate long-term care into estate planning
If clients have specific goals for an inheritance they want to leave, you’ll need to discuss how to incorporate the potential cost of long-term care into their estate planning.

4. Long-term care payment options
Your clients may look to you to explain the details of options like long-term care insurance, reverse mortgages and annuities for covering their care costs. Be ready to explore the pros and cons of the many different choices. This may be a good time to have a conversation about the financial assistance that may be available to them.

5. The costs of caregiving
Family members might be unsure how to cover the costs associated with caregiving and may be unaware that they might be eligible for tax breaks. Discuss the expenses—and potential assistance—that come with caring for a loved one.

Ask if your client is a veteran or the spouse of a veteran. The VA offers financial assistance for qualifying veterans and spouses. This assistance can be a financial bridge for those who qualify.

6. End-of-life legal paperwork
Discussions on long-term care can be an opportunity to bring up end-of-life legal issues. Ask your senior clients if they have completed a will, an advance directive and durable power of attorney documents. If not, you should advise them to make an appointment with their lawyer to do so.

To learn more about the cost and value of Elder Care Alliance communities, we’re happy to connect you to an Elder Care Alliance team member to help.

The following resources can also help you guide clients: