What You May Not Know About Long-Term Care – And Why It Matters

What You May Not Know About Long-Term Care – And Why It Matters

What do you do when you know a storm is coming? You anticipate it. You gather information. You make a plan. And you prepare in advance.

When it comes to your future healthcare, the process should be no different – and the more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to make wise, strategic decisions. But for many older adults, misconceptions and myths about long-term care can be an obstacle to the planning process.

Americans of all wealth and income levels tend to underestimate the number of years they’ll live and, by extension, they care they’ll need, according to an AARP report. But statistics from the U.S. Department of Health show that person turning 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing long-term care in the future – and most will end up paying for it out of their own pockets.

“This is the year to start debunking myths and facing new realities,” write Patrice Hirsch Feinstein and Tara D. Sonenshine in an opinion piece for The Hill: Why long-term care in America is a long-term problem. “Many Americans think their long-term care needs are covered by their health insurance or Medicare – this is not the case.”

That’s right: Medicare does not pay for extended stays in skilled nursing facilities; it covers only short-term stays following hospitalizations and limited home care. And it pays nothing – nothing – for assisted living. Neither do Medicare or Medigap supplements. So if you do need these services, it will cost you.

As healthcare costs mount, many Americans hope to mitigate them by “aging in place.” But as appealing as that option might sound, it isn’t always realistic or cost-effective. Living at home may also require home modifications, assistive devices, and other expensive services – and doesn’t preclude the need for long-term care, which averages about $18,250 a month at a rate of $25 per hour, or $219,000 annually.

Even those with long-term care insurance policies aren’t fully protected from risk. Premiums can increase; the structure of the policy can change; and your coverage may not be sufficient to keep up with escalating costs. And if you do need higher levels of care, there’s no guarantee it will be available nearby – or that it will be of the quality you’re seeking.

That realization was what prompted Glenridge member Julie Stewart to start thinking seriously about her healthcare options. “At a certain point, I realized: You cannot wait until you need help – because if you do, you might not be able to access it,” she says. “For me, learning that was almost like a gift. I asked myself, what’s stopping me from getting on a wait list right now?”

Julie’s experience is a good reminder: While long-term care comes with plenty of pitfalls, a little forethought can go a long way toward navigating them – and there’s no better time than right now to create a Life Plan that will keep you on track in the years ahead.

At The Glenridge, we want you to be armed with the facts as you face the future. That’s why our ongoing blog series, Are You Prepared?, is tackling big questions about long-term care and America’s changing healthcare industry – and in our next article, we’ll explore strategies that can help you plan ahead for whatever tomorrow brings.

If you’re ready to be proactive about your future, there’s no better place to get started than The Glenridge. Send us a message or give our Life Planning Team a call at 941-552-5369 to learn more or schedule your personal tour today.

For more information about what life is like at The Glenridge on Palmer Ranch – once again named the best senior living community in Sarasota – visit our other blog posts or find us on Facebook.