LONG-TERM CARE: CAN YOU AFFORD TO GET OLD?

LONG-TERM CARE: CAN YOU AFFORD TO GET OLD?

What is long-term care?

Long-term care can mean different things, but generally it is when someone needs significant care. This can range from a nursing home to home care or assisted living.  Usually, someone needs long-term care because of aging, but not always.  It can be required because someone has an illness or a chronic health condition and needs assistance.  There are cognitive illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease as well as physical conditions like someone who has suffered a stroke and needs help walking, eating, and showering.

Who needs long-term care?

Most of us will!  We are living longer so the chances of a person needing long-term care has increased exponentially.  Once we reach the age of 65, 7 out of 10 of us will need long-term care.  And unfortunately, you don’t need to be “old” to need long-term care.  Some individuals are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in their 30s; other individuals may have an accident or a chronic health condition in their 20s.  For anyone who reaches the age of 85, 4 out of 5 of us will require some type of long-term care.

What are the costs of long-term care?

Costs differ from state to state, but as an example, the average cost of a nursing home in Michigan is about $130,000 per year.  Keep in mind that this is only the average, so many nursing homes are more expensive than this!  Meanwhile, home care costs can be hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.  A lot of families have no idea how expensive long-term care is and they don’t prepare for the costs.  For married couples, it can be especially challenging when one spouse lives in a nursing home and the other spouse lives at home in the community since there will be two sets of expenses to pay.

How do you afford the cost?

There are a few different ways to pay for long -erm care.  If you have significant resources, then you can invest your money and self-insure.  For others, long-term care insurance is a wonderful tool to help defray the excessive costs of care.  If you have limited assets, then you can qualify for Medicaid.  Keep in mind that the Medicaid rules do vary from state to state.  Lastly, there is something called long-term care planning for those individuals who want to preserve their assets and qualify for Medicaid.  It is critical to work with an elder law attorney for this type of planning.

What professionals can help you?

You definitely want to work with an elder law attorney.  That means someone who specializes in this area of law and doesn’t just dabble in it as it is a complicated area of law.  In addition, you will want to explore hiring a care manager to address the quality of care and make sure that you or your loved one is receiving the appropriate level of care.  It also is important to explore working with a financial advisor and CPA.

When is a good time to prepare for long-term care?

The best time to prepare is before you need it! And keep in mind that none of us know what tomorrow will bring irrespective of our age.  Now is the time to explore long-term care insurance and your estate planning documents.

Danielle and Andy Mayoras are co-authors of Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights!, legal media experts, and keynote speakers.  You can find them on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.  For all of the latest legal news, be sure to check out their blog.

     

    MEET DANIELLE

    Danielle Mayoras is an on-camera legal expert, attorney, author, and keynote speaker. As a respected media source, she has lent her expertise and analysis to hundreds of media sources, including The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, ABC News, The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, People, Forbes, Kiplinger, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, among many others. She has appeared on Access Hollywood, the Rachael Ray Show, The Insider, CNN, CNN International, NBC Nightly News, Forbes, The Hallmark Channel, ABC’s Live Well Network, FOX, PBS, and NBC affiliates. Danielle also serves as a legal analyst for CBS News Detroit.

    In addition to co-authoring the best-selling book Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!, Danielle has been a contributor to Forbes and other outlets. Danielle has also appeared as a TV host and legal expert on multiple celebrity documentary series on the REELZ network. When not doing media, Danielle helps clients in her thriving law firm practice and serves as a keynote speaker delighting audiences across the country.