Archive for the ‘Long Term Care’ Category

10 Steps to Communicate Your End-of-Life Wishes

ToughConvo

 

Communicating your end-of-life wishes is often among the most difficult conversations you can have with your family and loved ones. It’s also a conversation that many avoid until it’s too late.

The importance of clearly laying out your end-of-life preferences cannot be overstated, however. And doing so before you a suffer a life-threatening illness or other crisis will help reduce anxiety and doubt for family members who may be confused about final wishes that haven’t been clearly expressed.

Perhaps the most important question when it comes to communicating end-of-life wishes is, “how to do it?” Fortunately, there are a variety of steps you can take and proven methods that should make the process easier for you and your family. Getting started now, before it’s too late, should be a priority.

  1. Plan ahead

There’s no time like the present when it comes to letting your loved ones know about your final wishes is now. You can start by drawing up a living will that states your treatment and care preferences if you should ever be in a position where you can’t speak for yourself.

It’s also important to have a durable power of attorney in place that appoints one family member or other trusted person to make medical decisions for you in the event you’re unable to do so. Take all the time you need to reflect on what’s most important to you, then get the paperwork started.

  1. Be clear about what you want

It’s not easy to think about becoming too ill to make healthcare and other important decisions. But a critical injury or debilitating illness can happen to anyone at any time, and it’s vital to be clear about your wishes as soon as you can in case the unthinkable happens to you.

  1. Finding the right opportunities

While finding the right time to talk about your end-of-life issues can be a challenge, here are some events that can present opportunities to sit down with family and loved ones:

*Gatherings or time spent related to milestones such as the birth of a child, marriage, death of a loved one, retirement, anniversaries, etc.

*During holiday gatherings when many family members may be present.

*When creating your will or other estate planning.

*When a major illness requires that you or another family member move out of the home and into a long-term care setting – such as an assisted living community or a nursing home – or when a friend or family member is facing a serious illness or end-of-life situation.

  1. Talk often

It’s important to have end-of-life conversations early and to ensure that everyone understands your wishes. Moreover, your preferences may change over time and create the need for regular discussions on the subject.

  1. Ask permission

Again, discussing end-of-life issues isn’t necessarily easy, and it may make some of your family members uncomfortable. Asking your loved ones for permission before diving into the topic reassures them that you respect and honor everyone’s desires.

  1. Keep the purpose in mind

Your conversations with loved ones should address two important goals: making sure that your financial and healthcare wishes are expressed and honored, and providing them with the information and confidence they need to make future decisions.

  1. Find an Appropriate Setting

Find a quiet, comfortable place to have discussions about end-of-life wishes – preferably somewhere private and without distractions. A noisy restaurant or other public places is probably not the right setting to broach this tough topic.

  1. Be a good listener

Whether you’re discussing your end-of-life wishes, listening to another family member express theirs, or getting feedback from family and friends, it’s important to listen carefully. Make every effort to hear and understand what your loved ones are saying, and make clear to them that it’s important to you. If you’re listening to someone else,express their wishes, try to reaffirm what they’re saying and acknowledge their right to make life choices, even if you disagree with them.

  1. Know your audience

Some loved ones and family members may want to discuss end-of-life wishes in private rather than in a group setting. Use your knowledge of the people involved to figure out the best way express your wishes.

  1. Let others set the pace

If you’re in the role of listening to a family member express their wishes, follow their lead. Avoid correcting the person or becoming argumentative if they say something you don’t agree with.

Is Your State the Best Place to Retire? Check Its Scorecard.

As if the reality of saving for retirement isn’t daunting enough, the Financial Security Scorecard report issued by the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) in July showcases a sobering picture of retirement security across the nation. Retirement security means having enough income to live comfortably, yet the reality is many Americans will likely not have retirement security when they retire. A recent U.S. Government Accountability Office retirement security report found that “about half of households age 55 and older have no retirement savings (such as in a 401(k) plan or an IRA.” While the NIRS report’s purpose is to educate state-level stakeholders and policymakers regarding the financial security issues faced by future retirees and what policies can be enacted to increase retirement security, anyone who expects to be a retiree should take a minute to review the report’s findings—if only to be reminded of the importance of planning ahead for your financial security during retirement and consider which states to retire in.

The Economic Pressures Behind the Rankings

To determine the retirement security for each state and how states ranked against each other, NIRS assessed “three sources of potential economic pressures for retirees.” These pressures included

  1. potential retirement income among private sector employees
  2. housing and healthcare costs for older households
  3. labor market opportunities for older workers

The rankings of these three sources were based upon eight variables. For example, for potential retirement income, the researchers analyzed the marginal tax rate on pension income and percentage of private sector workers participating in a retirement plan at work. The retirement costs of housing and health care variables included the average out-of-pocket expenditures for Medicare patients and the average Medicaid spending per elderly patient. Data sources which were used to calculate the rankings included U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Center for Economic and Policy Research, U.S. Census Bureau and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The result is a financial security scorecard for each state and the high and low scoring states for each source of economic pressure. One pattern the researchers found was that “no single state had the best or close to best ranking on all eight input variables in 2012.”

This year Wyoming ranked the overall highest, followed by Alaska, Minnesota and North Dakota. The reasons cited for this ranking include relatively strong labor markets and lower retiree costs. Lowest ranking states included California, Florida and South Carolina.

If you dig into the financial security scorecards, you can see the numbers behind the rankings. For example, in Washington, which earned a ranking of 8 for retirement income scores, the state ranks 10th in the nation with an average of $35,344 in the average defined contribution account balance and nearly 48 percent of private sector employees participating in an employee-sponsored retirement plan.

Perhaps the economic pressure that concerns seniors on a fixed income the most is retiree costs. While the cost of housing is expected to be high in urban areas, states do have housing subsidy programs for adults on a limited income, and state programs will also help pay for Medicare costs. When these two factors are combined, you can get a sense of which states are willing to spend money caring for their aging residents.

Again, North Dakota and Wyoming ranked the highest, while California, Florida, Illinois and Nevada ranked at the bottom. This is expected as the cost of living is quite high in California and Florida.

While the purpose of retirement is to escape the work place, for some retirees, they have to continue working to live comfortably. For many states, there are employment opportunities available, but this can be accompanied by low wages. The states ranking highest in this economic pressure category were Alaska, North Dakota and West Virginia. Not only did these states have a 4.4%, 2.2% and 3.6% unemployment rate (respectively) for seniors 55 and older, but the median hourly wages ranged from $15-$18. In contrast, North Carolina scored the lowest; even though its median hourly wage is $13.60, which is not the lowest rate, the unemployment rate is 7.9%.

What’s Needed to Create Retirement Security?

While future retirees can never save too much, policymakers can enact policies which address financial insecurities. This could mean increasing employment opportunities, encouraging retirement savings or increasing Medicare expenditures. But what should be heeded is how interconnected all these economic pressures are. As the report concludes, ” Weak labor markets for older workers tend to exist in tandem with higher retiree costs as reflected by low Medicaid generosity, high out of pocket Medicare expenditures, and high housing costs. In addition, higher costs seem to correlate with lower potential retirement income, as indicated by estimated average retirement savings account balances, workplace retirement plan participation, and income tax rates on seniors.”

Image courtesy of National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS).

Local Food Assistance Programs Available to Help Seniors

Last week we highlighted government programs that seniors on a limited income can sign up for to increase their access to fresh produce. In this post we will highlight the local programs that seniors and their families or caregivers can turn to.

According to Meals on Wheels (formerly Meals on Wheels Association of America) there are only two states–Minnesota and Wisconsin–where less than 10 percent the senior population struggles with hunger. To remedy this unfortunate reality, numerous community-based organizations across the United States work tirelessly to feed the millions of seniors who struggle with access to food.

Meals on Wheels

Among the most well-known nationwide organizations is Meals on Wheels. They have more than 5,000 local programs that may either home deliver meals or provide them in a congregate setting, such as at a senior center. Meal fees are typically based on a sliding scale, so those with lower income pay less. To qualify for these meals, seniors or their families are asked to contact their local program and complete an application to determine their qualifications.

Unfortunately, they add the caveat that “in many areas of the country, the need for meals far exceeds the resources available to provide them, leading to wait lists and/or being turned away,” underlining the demand for food access programs.

Senior Centers

Senior centers don’t just offer exercise classes or host bingo nights. Meals are provided throughout the week, in addition to the meals provided by the Meals on Wheels program. Some centers may offer lunches or dinner, and for seniors who are able to drive or take the bus to visit the center, these meals can supplement their diet. In some cases there are transportation options available to help seniors who cannot reach the center on their own.

Food Banks

For seniors lacking the discretionary income to spend at the senior center or are unable to participate in the Meals on Wheels program, a local food bank can provide a safety net. And lest you think that food banks offer only processed or packaged food, that’s no longer the reality. Increasingly food banks, such as Seattle-based Rainier Valley Food Bank, are now partnering with local farmers and residents to grow and distribute fresh produce to those in need.

Food banks may either be run independently or as part of a larger network such as is the case of Feeding America. Comprised of 200 food banks across the country, this network is responsible for “providing 3.3 billion meals to more than 46 million people.” Additionally, in some areas there are statewide networks such as Washington State’s Northwest Harvest or the Florida Association of Food Banks. Some food banks may even have a delivery option available for seniors unable to travel to the food bank due to mobility or limited access to transportation.

Whether because of pride or lack of awareness about existing programs, the Greatest Generation and baby boomers aren’t utilizing the government and local programs in place to prevent hunger despite the life-threatening consequences of malnutrition. Yet if the combined efforts of government, nonprofits and citizens have any say in the matter, fewer seniors will go hungry in the coming decades.

Silverado and Sunrise: Senior Living Providers Which Treat Pets Like Family

With family pets being such a central feature in home life, you could assume that senior living communities would embrace a culture of being pet friendly; after all, many communities market themselves as being just like home and what is home without one’s pet. Yet all too often, communities have a no pet policy. At Silverado and Sunrise Senior Living communities, you won’t find a no pet policy; instead both senior living providers specifically include treating pets as family as one of their company’s core values.

“Most people are pleasantly surprised to learn that our communities are pet friendly,” says Maggie Schlagel, regional director of sales for Sunrise Senior Living. ‘We’ve found that allowing pets helps with the transition into a community and residents are so much more relaxed.”

Kathy Greene, vice president of operations for Silverado, says that she knows of families who stalled moving a family member into a community when they learn that pets aren’t welcome. Among the reasons why Silverado communities have house pets is because “life needs spontaneity and what better way to provide spontaneity than pets,” she says.

Both Silverado and Sunrise communities have house pets in addition to residents’ pets. Sunrise communities typically have a dog and cat, though some have birds, and their Staten Island community has a rabbit, Schlagel adds. Silverado communities also feature cats, dogs and birds (on average it is one dog to 10 residents), but there are also guinea pigs. One of the communities they acquired even came with miniature horses—which they kept, much to the delight of residents.

At each Silverado community there is a pet budget and dedicated pet coordinator who helps residents care for the house pets, which Greene says helps give residents a sense of purpose. “All of us human beings need the opportunity to nurture others, and just as residents are being nurtured, residents can nurture in turn,” she explains. At one community, residents made blankets for the local animal shelter and volunteered to train or walk the dogs.

When people outside our community learn that our residents have Alzheimer’s or dementia, they are surprised about the life our residents are still able to live, she adds. “It’s about the moment, not the memory.”

Sunrise residents are also active in supporting the animals in their local community. At one location, the memory care residents bake treats to take to the local animal shelter, and our communities often partner with local rescues and host a pet adoption day on site, Schlagel says. Many of their house pets are adopted from local animal shelters as well.

Not only do community pets boost the residents’ spirits, but they also promote physical health. Both Greene and Schlagel have seen residents resume walking or walking more because the dogs genuinely enjoy taking walks.

Of the house pets that have made a difference in residents’ lives, Greene says the story of Max, a golden retriever, comes readily to mind. He would know when someone is approaching death and would stay with that person until the end, she says. One time, Max remained with the resident, only leaving to go outside and go to the bathroom. The family was so moved that they asked if he could be at the funeral and he lay next to the casket during the service.

At Brighton Gardens of Stamford it was Bear, a Bernese Mountain dog (pictured left), who helped a woman adjust to her new home. The resident connected with Bear before the other residents and the unconditional love he provided just made the transition easier, Schlagel says.

Sunrise doesn’t require a pet fee, and pets are assessed on a case-by-case basis to ensure they will fit in with community pets. For residents with allergies, Schlagel says the team members will keep residents apart from the pets, but this health issue doesn’t often arise. “Most people are thrilled we have the house pet, as it’s an asset to our community,” she explains. Even team members, visiting physicians and family members will bring in their pets.

At Silverado communities, families are also welcome to bring in pets, and there is also an open-door policy when it comes to residents’ pets. We don’t want a dog locked in the room all day, nor do we want the resident to stay in their room, so resident pets are welcome to roam around the community too, Green says. All future pets are assessed to ensure they can be around people and noise, and in many cases, they will become a community pet when the resident passes away. Silverado does have a monthly pet fee which covers food, pet supplies and care when it’s needed.

Of Sunrise’s pet program, Schlagel says it will definitely continue in the future because the company strives to champion the lives of their residents and pets and to create a homelike environment. The same sentiment is held at Silverado, Greene says, because they want to have visitors to be taken aback by the life found at their communities.

Images are courtesy of Silverado and Sunrise Senior Living (photographer Jennifer Prat).

Don’t Be Fooled By These Supposed Senior Living Community Perks

Having spent the last few years immersed in reviewing state regulations and reviewing inspection reports of senior living communities, I am familiar with what communities are required by law to have in place so the safety of their residents is ensured. All to often these requirements are advertised as amenities and perks, and each time I see this, I can’t help but shake my head in exasperation. Here are a few of the most commonly listed requirements that I often see senior living communities advertise as amenities or perks when in fact they are required by law.

Sprinklers and Fire Alarm System

When I see this claim on a community’s website – We are fully outfitted with sprinklers and a fire alarm system – I always can’t help thinking, “Of course you should be, that’s the law.” As part of the licensure process, communities are inspected by the local fire marshal to ensure they are in compliance with the state code. Communities are even required to have extra safety measures in place when they care for bedridden or nonambulatory residents. Here’s the language from California’s Manual of Policies and Procedures for Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly  Section 87203 Fire Safety—All facilities shall be maintained in conformity with the regulations adopted by the State Fire Marshal for the protection of life and property against fire and panic.

Granted a residential home doesn’t have sprinkles or a fire alarm system, apart from a smoke alarm, so seniors might not realize that the safety features of sprinklers or a community-wide fire alarm are required. Yet nearly every public space a senior may visit is outfitted with fire protection systems, so why should senior living communities be any different.

Employee Background Checks

Performing employee background checks are advertised as community policy when, yet again, this is a policy required by law; even volunteers are required to have background checks in most states. While reviewing inspection reports, I have seen communities cited for allowing a staff member to work with residents before their background check is completed, and in California this citation is accompanied by a fine.

The state of Wyoming’s Rules for Program Administration of Assisted Living Facilities spells it out quite simply in Section 5c:  All staff of the assisted living facility shall successfully complete, at a minimum, a State of Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) fingerprint background check and a Department of Family Services Central Registry Screening before direct resident contact.

Protecting Resident’s Privacy

Resident records and resident information shall be kept confidential and only provided in accordance with law—as per New Hampshire’s Residential Care and Health Facilities Rules. You can’t get more straightforward or simpler than that. A community is required to protect a resident’s privacy, which can mean locking resident records in a secure office or instructing staff not to discuss a resident’s health status in front of other residents.

So how can families know a community is in compliance with state laws if it’s not specifically called out? During the tour, ask to see the recent health and safety inspections or even procedure manuals. Communities are often required to keep the latest copy of the inspection survey on file or even post it for public viewing. Procedure manuals will detail how a community handles fire drills, background checks and resident privacy. If the community readily answers your questions and demonstrates their compliance by showing you these documents, that’s how you can be satisfied your loved one will be well taken care of—through actions not words.

An Inside Look into What Affects the Monthly Rate for an Assisted Living Community

Apartment rent, utilities and services:  these are the general factors which dictate the monthly rent that is charged by assisted living or memory care communities to care for your loved one. Yet, are these all the factors which affect the monthly rent? If you have searched or are searching for an assisted living community for your loved one, you likely toured a number of communities within a given area and found that one community, which offers the same type of services, but costs more than a community down the road, though they both appear identical. That’s the question which the Office of Disability, Aging and Long-Term Care Policy office sought to answer and their results appeared in the informative report What Factors Affect Residential Care Facility Charges released in September 2014.

What Factors did the Researchers Find?

Using the facility and resident data collected from the 2010 National Survey of Residential Care Facilities, researchers analyzed the factors that could influence the monthly charge  residents pay. Many of the factors are what you would expect to influence the cost, such as type of apartment, staffing ratios and level of care residents required, but there were other more subtle factors also proved significant. Here are a few highlights.

Type of Community

Researchers found that as the size of the community increased, the monthly cost did too. Small facilities serving four to ten residents had an average cost of $2,596 while large facilities, which served 26-100 residents, cost families $3,028 per monthly. Though you might think that a nonprofit community would charge less than a for-profit community, no statistical difference was found with this factor. However, an independent community was found to have a lower monthly rent ($2,611) compared to a community that is part of a chain ($2,999). Location also matters; communities in urban areas cost more per month compared to rural areas.

The level of care provided by the community was also found to influence the monthly cost. If a community didn’t specifically offer Alzheimer’s or dementia care, the monthly cost was lower compared to communities where memory care was available or the only care type provided. If other healthcare facilities were located on the community campus, such as a nursing home or hospital, which is the case for continuing care retirement communities, residents could expect to pay a higher monthly charge.

How are Residents Charged for Services

Included in the base rate for most communities are apartment rent, dining, housekeeping and utilities. Some communities may also include assistance with activities of daily living in this base rate while others charge an additional fee for these services. This different type of payment structure can make it difficult for families to make accurate comparisons. However, researchers found no statistical difference in the monthly rent whether the community included the supportive services in the base rate. The factor that did influence the monthly rent was whether an entrance fee or deposit was required. On average communities that didn’t have this requirement charged on average $2,512 compared to $3,057.

Type of Apartments Available

Because communities strive to recreate the feel of a home within a community setting, a variety of floor plans are often offered so residents may select a plan that meets their needs. Yet, the results found that if an apartment has a kitchenette, whether it includes a microwave, oven or stove, the monthly cost was higher, about $290 more than an apartment that did not offer these amenities. Selecting a private room also resulted in a higher monthly cost ($3,015 to $2,342).

Employee Benefits and Care Provided

Personal care aides can make the difference in whether your loved one thrives or is miserable at a senior living community. Most families would likely want these staff be well treated and compensated appropriated for their important work by management. In this case, the level of compensation is related to a higher monthly charge that families can expect to pay. Researchers found that if a community didn’t offer benefits (vacation and sick time, health insurance or paid time off), the average monthly rate was $2,280 compared to $3,405. Facilities were also found to charge a higher monthly rate when residents received more hours of direct care.

What does this mean for families?

Though paying for care for a loved one isn’t an expense you want to scrimp on, this report does suggest unseen factors could influence what you pay each month to care for your parents. If you live in an urban area and moving your parents to a rural community isn’t an option—especially if you want them close by—then you can select a smaller apartment to reduce the monthly cost or choose a locally owned and operated community.

And while you likely want to pay as low of monthly rate as possible, you likely don’t want to compromise the care your loved one will receive. In this case, it couldn’t hurt to investigate how a community’s personal care aides are paid. If they don’t receive benefits or other compensation for their work, this can translate into higher staff turnover and higher of less qualified staff.

While having a dementia neighborhood in the community might mean a higher monthly cost and is an unneeded feature right now, you would gain the peace of mind knowing that memory care is available, avoiding the unnecessary stress and trauma of another move.

What the researchers also found is that the monthly cost increases as the level of supportive services increase. Residents who were incontinent, used a walker or had a hip fracture or injury due to a fall had higher monthly costs compared to residents without these health issues. So, in addition to making sure you or your parents can afford long-term care, you should encourage them to remain active and healthy to reduce future direct care costs.

2015 Costs for Elderly Day Care and Assisted Living

The milestones of life may be the moments that take your breath away, but they can also be the moments when you experience sticker shock, such as when you purchase a new car, read the cost of a  four-year university or see the purchase price of a house. For baby boomers, there is now another time to experience sticker shock:  when you see the price of long-term care. Because most families want the best care possible for their loved ones, it is never too early to be planning for how to pay for your parents and your own long-term care.

For the past 10 years Genworth has surveyed the costs of long-term care services, including home health aide services, adult day health care and nursing homes, and each year issues a Cost of Care Survey that provides a state-by-state breakdown of what consumers can expect to pay for each type of care. As you would expect, some services are more costlier than others and some states have a higher cost than others.

To assist you in making a budget for long-term care costs, we have compiled the cost of care by state for daily elderly day care, the median daily rate for a nursing home and one-bedroom apartment in an assisted living facility.

If seeing these costs makes you realize it’s time to create the long-term financial plan, be sure to visit our Senior Finance Center.

Senior Living 2025

If you’re one of the individuals who are part of the upcoming gray wave, you’ve likely been more focused on finding care for your aging parents than for yourself. After all, you still have decades until you need to contemplate your care options. But ask yourself this—who will care for you? Perhaps your children or another family member? What if you have to join a retirement community or assisted living facility? Will there be enough employees to care for you and the other residents?

What most current and future retirees don’t realize is that the senior living industry will soon face a crisis of more seniors requiring care during their golden years and the infrastructure, such as government funding, employees and communities, isn’t equipped to care for these millions of people.

This is why the Assisted Living Federal of America (ALFA) launched the Senior Living 2025 initiative earlier this year to start the conversation within the senior living industry. Whether you are an a retiree who in 10 years will need supportive services to remain independent or an adult child who may be tasked with finding an assisted living community for an aging parent in the near future, you could benefit from this insight into the industry, as this crisis will affect not only your future care but many aspects of society.

What are the challenges?

ALFA identified four challenges that the senior living industry will face in the coming years.

Workforce Development

According to the AARP Public Policy Institute, in 2015 there were currently 7 caregivers (ages 45-64) to 1 senior (age 80 and older). In 15 years that number will shrink to 4:1; by 2050, there will be a 3:1 ratio. Yet in spite of the guaranteed jobs that await those who decide to focus on geriatrics, the Institute of Medicine’s 2008 report found that younger workers are not interested in working with seniors.Workforce Development Infographic - ALFA

*All infographics are courtesy of ALFA.

 

Quality Care

In 25 years, the Administration on Aging projects that the population of seniors 85+ will double, totaling over 14 million. And how will the senior living industry care for this influx of people, especially when 75% of seniors have at least two common chronic conditions and are living longer? ALFA sees the solution as creating advances in technology and healthcare services.

Operational Excellence

The senior living industry is a service industry, and with retirement communities often designed to have all the amenities of a town right on site (a beauty salon, gift store, bistro and wellness center), a well-managed community requires dedicated staff filling numerous positions that don’t involve healthcare services. So how can the senior living industry entice younger workers to enter the industry, especially when interest in working with the senior population is lacking? The solution is developing not only new ways that technology can provide better care but also retain skilled employees. Currently there are over 735,000 residents in assisted living communities and community managers recognize that the care that is provided by their employees directly affects whether future residents will consider joining the community. This is why they are focusing efforts to increase education and training opportunities.

Consumer Choice

Where do you envision living during retirement: in the same family home, in another state or will you join a retirement community? What is for certain is that you won’t lack for choices, especially since ALFA sees the senior living industry as “playing an important role in how consumers finance their most enriching years.” But while your parents may have their long-term care covered, hopefully you are not one of the 38% of Americans who think their retirement will be comfortable.

Planning where you will spend summer vacation is complicated enough, but then when you factor in planning for retirement may be 10, 20 or 30 years away, it doesn’t seem real. But before we know it, it will be 2025, and hopefully we aren’t experiencing the crisis that experts are currently foretelling.

How Geriatric Care Managers can Help You Care for Your Parents

Where can your turn when those conversations about how to care for your parents become difficult?  Who’s available to help you sort through all the options?  Is there a neutral third party who can listen objectively and make recommendations?  If you’re miles away, who can make a personal visit to assess your parents’ health?  The answer: geriatric care managers.

Who are Geriatric Care Managers?

Geriatric care managers are health and human services professionals with specialized knowledge of and experience in senior care.  Their backgrounds may include such fields as nursing, social work, gerontology and psychology.  They advocate for senior clients and support families; offering independent assessment of the situation and arranging for and coordinating appropriate services.  More often than not, family members struggle with emotions during this time; few are prepared for how these situations will affect them personally.  Geriatric care managers help families understand not only the situation and options, but also the feelings involved.

To learn more about how geriatric care managers can help lessen the stress of caring for your parents, visit SeniorHomes.com’s page Geriatric Care Managers Can Help.

Planning to Pay for Care: Is Long-Term Care Insurance the Right Choice?

It’s no secret that the cost of long-term care is high, and costs have been rising for several years. The rising costs are an obstacle, but many seniors find no way to avoid the eventual need for long-term care services. In fact, 75 percent of all people over the age of 65 will eventually need long-term care, according to a study by Mutual of Omaha.

Even more disheartening are other long-term care statistics: The average cost of a one-year stay in a skilled nursing community, according to sources like AARP and CNN Money, are estimated between $50,000 and $80,000. It’s no surprise, then, that many seniors spend their retirement savings within a year or two of a long-term care need arising.

For these reasons, planning for long-term care at a younger age is essential. Long-term care insurance is one option to ensure that your care needs will be met as you grow older. A typical long-term care insurance policy covers not only nursing home services, but home healthcare, assisted living communities, respite care, and even services such as adult day care and hospice care.

But knowing whether long-term care insurance is right for you, what tax implications exist, and what your policy should include aren’t easy questions to answer. Our guide to long-term care insurance, “Long-Term Insurance: Planning for Your Future,” outlines the basics of long-term care insurance and how these policies work to offer financial protection and ensure that you or your loved ones will have access to the care you need as you grow older.

For more information about the costs of long-term care, how long-term care insurance works, consumer protections, and how to determine if long-term care insurance is right for you, read our comprehensive article here.