When people hear “long-term care”, they often think of a nursing home. But there are a broad range of health services and providers that fall under the long-term care category. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are just one form of long-term care. If you or a loved one is in need of continuous or regular medical care, it’s good to know and consider all of your options.
You or someone you love may need long-term care at some point in your life. Planning ahead can help ease your concerns about the cost of care.
In-Home Care. Many people would prefer to remain in their homes as long as possible, even as they get older or when illness make everyday living difficult. In-home care such as home health aides and personal care assistants can help make staying at home possible. Some of these providers offer help only with basic living activities, such as bathing, grooming, shopping and housekeeping. Home health agencies offer more skilled care for people who have greater medical needs, including physical therapy, intravenous treatment or pain management.
Some in-home health care costs are covered by Medicare or Medicaid, at least for some time. In-home care can be a viable and affordable option for many people and families seeking help with long-term care needs.
LTC in a Community Setting. In some cases, in-home care is not the best option for people who need continuous or regular medical attention. But there are still many choices for long-term care facilities to consider, based on how much care an individual may require.
Assisted living generally refers to facilities that offer continuous care for people who don’t need regular assistance with basic living needs. Skilled nursing homes and memory care facilities serve those with greater medical needs who cannot live on their own. In the middle are continuing care communities, which allow for independent living with the option to move to assisted living when necessary.
Payment options. The costs for some long-term care can be significant—the average cost of a private nursing home for one year is over $90,000 according to the Department of Health & Human Services, while an in-home health aide for a year can cost a family over $50,000. Generally, Medicare won’t cover many long-term care costs. State Medicaid program can help, but often only after other financial resources have been depleted.
That’s why it’s important to plan ahead and consider different savings and payment options. Some people may tap their home equity, especially if they are moving into a long-term care facility. Hybrid life insurance policies that offer long-term care coverage can also provide flexibility and potential wealth protection from steep medical bills for long-term care.
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