Long Term Care

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Many seniors these days are looking for ways to extend their post-retirement income, especially when thinking about their future health. It’s impossible to know what life will throw your way, and planning ahead can be tricky. Medicare is an invaluable resource for most seniors, but it doesn’t cover everything, and the thought of requiring long-term care or a stay in the hospital one day down the road can be stressful.

Fortunately, there are several ways you can start preparing for your needs no matter what they may be three or five years from now. Figuring out whether you and your loved one want to remain in your current home or whether it will be safer -- and more cost efficient -- to downsize will be crucial during this process, as will thinking about what your family history is like. If there are certain illnesses or diseases that you’re predisposed for, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor and find out how to prevent and manage them.

Keep reading for some great tips on how to plan for your long-term care.

Take a Look at Your Insurance

Some health, disability, and life insurance policies will cover long-term care, such as a stay in an assisted living facility or under a nurse’s care, but the terms are usually strict, and not all policies are the same. Take a look at all your insurance policies to get a feel for what they’ll cover, and don’t hesitate to call your rep if you have questions. You can start here for some great resources.

Downsize

Downsizing can be an option for seniors who are worried about their ability to stay safe in their current home. This can prevent a stay in a nursing home or assisted living facility due to injury, but it’s not the right option for everyone. Making a move is a big job, and it will likely require you to sell, donate, and throw away many belongings because there won’t be room for them all in a smaller home. If your current home has stairs, a large yard to take care of, narrow doorways, and small rooms that won’t facilitate a wheelchair or other medical equipment, it might be time to think about a downsize.

Plan for Staying at Home

There are other options besides moving into a nursing home or assisted living facility after an injury or illness. If you or your spouse need care at any point, you can take advantage of the many services available to seniors, such as home health aides, senior centers, and adult day care centers. These services will help you stay independent and won’t require as much money out-of-pocket as a long-term stay in a facility.

Put It in Writing

Whether you want to make sure your family is taken care of in the event that you are incapacitated by an illness or you want to plan for your ability to seek long-term care in the event that you need it, it’s imperative to put it all in writing and have it notarized. Making out a living will can help give you peace of mind and will leave no doubt as to your wishes should you be unable in the future to vocalize them.

Planning for your future can be an emotional time, leaving you feeling drained and stressed, so it’s important to take care of yourself. Eat a balanced diet, exercise daily, get enough rest, and reduce stress as much as possible. Thinking about what your needs will be in the future can give you peace of mind and will allow you to focus on what really matters.

 

Hazel Bridges
AgingWellness