The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that people turning 65 years old today have about a 70% chance of needing some form of assistance as they age. This means that only one-third of seniors above the age of 65 will never require long-term care, while 20% will need it for at least five years.
For families looking into long-term senior care, expenses are always a concern. Medicare doesn’t cover senior care, and most families don’t really put much thought into getting insurance. There is, however, some good news.
According to research conducted by the director of RAND Center for the Study of Aging, for a 57-year-old to be able to cover out-of-pocket expenses for a lifetime of nursing home care, he or she must have set aside at least $7,344. Not a meager sum, but it’s still a far cry from the six-figure amounts people often associated with senior care.
Caring for an aging loved one, doesn’t have to mean entering a state of bankruptcy. There are, in fact, ways to defray some of the costs for long-term senior care.
1. Prevention goes a long way.
Harness technology and monitoring to stave off a situation: keeping tabs on an aging parent’s state of mind is a good way to trim down care costs. According to Catherine Anne Seal, senior partner at Colorado-based elder law legal office Kirtland & Seal LLC, monitoring can help you avoid a crisis, and a crisis always entails money.
For parents who do not live in the same house as you, Seal suggests checking your parent’s bank account for strange transactions, such as bills that went unpaid for a long time. Find a remote monitoring technology that can be useful should the need arise. Once you onboard insurance companies and you can show them a record that Mom went up to take her pill and check her blood pressure, it can help you save a significant amount on senior care.
2. Research the costs beforehand.
The prices you have to pay for long-term senior care will always vary from one facility to the next, and the differences in pricing do not stop with the type of assistance or care you require: it differs depending on the region you’re in.
While there is no surefire way to predict exactly when your parents will require care, you can dodge unpleasant surprises by researching your options and knowing how much each costs beforehand.
3. Seek government aid.
There are programs that you can maximize to help cut down care costs. For honorably discharged military members, for instance, you can apply for veterans’ benefits, which cover respite care, adult day care, and skilled home health care, among other benefits.
United Capital Atlanta’s managing director Emily Sanders says, moreover, that depending on your parents’ assets, you may claim them as dependents like you would your children, to receive a tax break.
On top of government help, seniors and families may also explore community and private organizations that lend a helping hand. The National Council on Aging has put up BenefitsCheckUp.com – a free database that you may check to find organizations that can help cover the expenses.