4 Different Types of Long-Term Care Services
Long-term care is likely to play a role in retirement for a large majority of seniors. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that today’s 65-year-olds have a 70 percent chance of needing long-term care at some point in their lives. The agency estimates that the average senior will need care for three years.1
Long-term care comes in many different forms, however. Not all long-term care is the same. It can be provided in a facility or in a home. Or it could be a blend of the two. Care can involve medical treatment or simply support for basic activities of daily living. If you need long-term care, it will likely be designed to meet your unique needs.
Of course, the type of care you need can greatly affect the total cost. You can’t predict your future health, so it can be difficult to estimate the potential expense. However, you can develop a funding strategy to address all potential types of care. For example, long-term care insurance is often an effective tool to help cover the cost. Below are four of the most common types of long-term care, along with information on how they may impact your budget in retirement:
Long-term care often begins in the home. An individual may start to have trouble with certain tasks and need assistance. For instance, if you were to fall and injure a hip or other joint, you may need assistance bathing or with mobility. Someone with cognitive issues, such as Alzheimer’s, may need someone present to ensure his or her safety.
Depending on the extent of your need, your spouse or family may be able to fill this role at little or no cost. However, it may be unwise to expect that your family can always provide this service. In-home care can quickly become a full-time job, especially if the condition worsens.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 65 percent of seniors will need in-home care at some point and that the care will be needed for an average of two years.1
Medicare rarely covers in-home care. It may cover a portion of the cost if skilled nursing care is provided—and if the care is related to treatment for a specific condition. Genworth estimates that a full-time in-home health aide costs an average of $4,195 per month.2 Most long-term care insurance policies cover home care, even if it’s provided by a family member.
Many communities and assisted living facilities offer outpatient services, also commonly known as “adult day health care.” As the name suggests, this is a type of care in which an individual can be dropped off at a facility for a day or even a few hours.
Adult day health care is often used in conjunction with home care, especially if a spouse or loved one is providing the care. It’s a safe, supportive space for the individual who needs care, so the primary caregiver can attend to other priorities or simply get a break. It can also be used as a cost-effective solution before transitioning to assisted living or nursing care.Day services usually aren’t covered by Medicare, but they may be covered by long-term care insurance. According to Genworth, adult day health care cost $1,560 per month on average in 2018.2
Assisted living is a broad term that can cover a wide range of services. Generally, it means that an individual lives independently in a facility with support and care on-site. For instance, you may have your own apartment or condo in the facility and also be able to call support as needed. Meals, basic cleaning and even social activities are usually included in the monthly cost.
The Genworth study found that the average assisted living facility cost $4,000 per month in 2018.2 Again, this cost usually isn’t covered by Medicare, unless there’s a skilled nursing aspect related to medical treatment. However, even that coverage is likely to be partial and temporary.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 35 percent of all seniors will stay for an average of one year in a nursing home at some point.1 A nursing home stay often comes at or near the end of life and is the result of a long decline in health. Genworth estimates that a nursing home costs $7,441 per month on average for a semiprivate room and $8,354 for a private room.2
Care in a nursing home often blends skilled nursing treatment with supportive custodial care. It’s possible that Medicare may temporarily cover some of the costs, especially if you are hospitalized prior to moving into the nursing home. Your stay could also be covered by Medicaid, but you must have little income and few assets to qualify.
Do you have a strategy to pay for long-term care? If not, let’s talk about it. Contact us today at Ambrose Financial & Insurance Services. We can help you develop a plan. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.
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