PLANNING AHEAD – MAKING A SMART FINANCIAL DECISION
One of the most common concerns about senior living is the cost. And that’s understandable. You’ve worked hard for your money and you and you want to protect it. This information will help you consider the costs associated with senior living vs. staying in your house, as well as the value of choosing a community. That way, you can make a smart financial plan for your future.
COMPARING MONTHLY EXPENSES
Even if your mortgage is paid off, living at home isn’t free. Write down and compare common monthly expenses as you explore your senior living options. Then compare that to the monthly service fees at different communities. Some of the costs to consider include mortgage/rent/property taxes, home insurance and association fees, utilities, scheduled transportation, maintenance and yard work, housekeeping and linen service, 24-hour security, fitness center, wellness programs, activities/entertainment and priority access to continuing care at predictable rates.
THE COST OF STAYING AT HOME
To keep your home safe and comfortable, you need to take care of regular maintenance and repairs. And if your needs change, it may require modifications such as grab bars or ramps. What will your home need? Some of the common maintenance expenses include a new roof, driveway repairs, a new furnace and air conditioner, plumbing, electrical and gutters, foundation repair, paint, carpet/flooring and then there’s age-related improvements. Only about 1% of homes are suitable for aging in place. Here are typical age-related modifications: grab bars in the bathroom, easy to use door handles, faucets and pulls, walk-in shower or tub, non-slip bathroom flooring, additional or repaired stair rails, wider door entry, wider hallway, entrance ramp, stair lift, accessible bedroom modifications and lower counters or sinks.
ANTICIPATING HEALTH CARE COSTS
Many people assume that if their health changes, long-term care insurance or Medicare will pay for all their care. That’s not always the case. So before you assume long-term health care costs will be covered, be sure you have the facts.
Long-Term Care Insurance helps cover the cost of long-term skilled nursing, assisted living, home health care and other long-term care services. These services usually aren’t covered by traditional health insurance or Medicare. However, you have to be healthy enough to qualify, and:
- It may only pay for a portion of the daily cost for care.
- Premiums can be expensive.
- There’s a maximum daily benefit for most policies.
- Most policies only pay out benefits for somewhere between two and five years.
- There may be a waiting period before benefits kick in
Keep in mind that 70% of people age 65+ will use some type of long term care services.
Medicare only covers short-term care such as short rehab stays at a skilled nursing facility, home rehab and therapy for a limited time, or home health care under certain circumstances. Not every facility accepts Medicare, and you may not get to choose where you receive care. It does not pay for:
- Assisted living
- Long-term rehab stays
- Long-term care at a skilled nursing facility
The average length of long term care is 3 years.
THE VALUE OF ENTRANCE FEES
Continuing care retirement communities offer an active independent lifestyle for the way you want to live now, along with access to a continuum of care that gives you peace of mind for the future. The entrance fee at these communities is a one-time upfront payment that has a surprisingly good long-term value.
- It ensures priority access to all levels of long-term on-site health care if ever needed. That means you don’t have to relocate to another community if you need care.
- If you’re approved for a Life Care contract, your monthly fees won’t rise significantly if you need a higher level of care – which can save you money in the long run.
- A portion of your entrance fee may qualify as a prepaid medical expense tax deduction.