None of us want to consider leaving our family home. This holds especially true as we consider the potential need to leave the home in order to secure the long-term care support we need as we age. Unfortunately, this is a reality that more and more Massachusetts seniors are facing. In fact, research tells us that over fifty percent of the seniors who turn 65 this year will need long-term care support during their lifetime.
We know this can be a difficult topic for you and your loved ones to discuss. When we begin to talk about long-term care needs, either immediately or in the future, the discussion raises a number of questions. We want to help you plan forward for this potential cost of care outside the home by sharing six tips you may not have yet considered. These are the same tips that we
tell our clients, friends, and family, as well as the professionals we work with on a daily basis.
1. Learn your options early. Not all long-term care is the same. Learn now, before you need it, what levels of care are as well as what is available in our local community.
2. Talk to your doctor about your future. Although none of us want to need long-term care in the future, it could become a reality for you and your loved ones. Discuss your options early with your primary doctor or specialists to determine if there is a type of care you are more likely to need in the future.
3. Update your estate planning. What will you do in a crisis? Have you named a decision maker who is able to act for you? Do not forget to ensure that your agent under your durable power of attorney not only has the ability to make long-term care decisions for you but can also engage in the planning you may need.
4. Learn what care costs in your community. Long-term care costs different amounts based on what you need. For example, in Massachusetts, the state average for an assisted living facility was $5,495 per month, while a semi-private room in a skilled nursing facility cost $12,015; BUT in MetroWest Boston the prices are much higher, with assisted living facilities ranging costing upwards of $9,000 per month and nursing home rooms running $16,000 per month and higher.You can learn more about these average costs and learn more about your area in the Genworth Cost of Care Survey.
5. Discuss your choices with your family. Do not leave your family in a position where they need to wonder about what you want for the future. Talk to them while you can about what you want for yourself.
6. Talk to your attorney and develop a plan. Your elder law attorney is uniquely positioned to be able to assist you in creating a plan that meets your needs. This can be done well in advance of a health care crisis, or during that crisis. What many do not realize, however, is that there are more options available when you choose to plan forward and not wait until an emergency.
We know this article may raise more questions that it answers. Discussing a future that may include the need for long-term care is never easy. We encourage you not to wait to contact us to schedule a meeting. For more information, you may also download a free preview of our book, Senior & Boomers Guide to Health Care Reform & Avoiding Nursing Home Poverty Reveals Little Known Secrets Seniors & Boomers Can Use to Save Hundreds of Thousands on Long-Term Care.