5 Ways You Can Plan for Long-Term Care Costs and Needs

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

Photo: Courtesy of Unsplash

As we grow older, our health care costs tend to get a bit higher. When you or a loved one needs help from a nursing home or assisted living facility, the costs can be overwhelming. Here are a few ways you can offset those expenses and plan for long-term care before you even need it.

 Figure Out Whether Care Will Be Needed

When you are planning ahead for your health care, it helps to know whether long-term care may be needed. Statistics show the majority of seniors will need some sort of extended care at some point in their lives. Family history can have a lot to do with your need for care, especially if there is a history of Alzheimer’s disease on your mother’s side of the family. Falls can also cause seniors to need long-term assistance, so try to take steps to help yourself or loved ones age in place safely and avoid fall-related injuries. Finally, take care of your health by eating a clean diet and exercising on a regular basis.

 Use Medicare to Your Advantage

Medicare is a wonderful tool for seniors to rely on when it comes to their medical needs. But if you or a family member ends up needing long-term care, basic Medicare may not yet help you when it comes to covering the costs. The good news is, however, that there are several supplemental Medicare Advantage plans that can offer more help with prescriptions, vision care, and dental care, and by saving on these expenses, you can tuck more funds away to provide long-term care. if you are currently eligible for Medicare or are nearing the age of eligibility, it’s important to get a better understanding of how to navigate some of the vital Medicare open enrollment dates, so read up on those first and plan ahead of time.

Understand Long-Term Care Insurance

If you are only planning for long-term care needs, then you may want to look into information about long-term care insurance. Getting this sort of supplemental coverage can be a bit expensive, but it can give you peace of mind if you are worried about you or a loved one needing care. Long-term care insurance typically costs less if you are younger and in good health, so start planning for this coverage option early to get the best deal. Otherwise, your rates will go up as you get older, particularly if your health begins to decline.

Know How to Use Benefits and Other Insurance

For adults who have served in the military, long-term care costs may be covered by the benefits provided by the VA. Eligible veterans and spouses can cover their care costs through pensions and possibly by adding the Aid and Attendance benefit. You may also be able to use life insurance policies to cover care costs as well. Many policies allow you to cash out or sell your life insurance to get the cash you need. This option can come in handy when the need for care comes up suddenly.

 Look Into Home Equity Options

Another way to pay for unexpected expenses associated with long-term care is to use the equity built into a home. If you or your loved one will make a permanent move, the most beneficial option may be to sell it and use profits to pay for care. For individuals who need to remain in their homes, there are still viable options to get the extra funds they need. You can take out a home equity loan or look into a reverse mortgage. Reverse mortgages come with the added benefit of not having to make monthly payments, but the house will be turned over to the lender when the owner passes away.

If you or a family member is in need of long-term care, the last thing you want to think about is how to pay for it. Finding quality care should be your top priority. By planning for costs now, you can focus on getting the care you need without worrying about how to pay for it.

Post contributed by Dana Brown at HealthConditions.Info
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Wellness For Older Adults: Tips to Help Boost Your Health

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Image Via Pixabay

Retirement has finally come and now you have the time to enjoy your family, travel or to simply sleep in every morning. But the fact that you are no longer obligated to punch a clock does not mean that it’s time to let yourself go. If you want to age well, you have to pay attention to your physical and mental health. Here’s how:

See your doctor regularly

When you reach 65, your relationship with your primary health care provider is more important than ever. Before now, you’ve been able to get away with a physical every two or three years. But now, you should plan on seeing your doctor at least once every 12 months. According to Comprehensive Primary Care, men and women have different health care needs. Women, for instance, are advised to get a mammogram yearly and Pap smear every five years after their 50th birthday. Likewise, men should receive a prostate cancer screening and bone density test after the big 5-0.

If paying for this extra health care is a little intimidating, you should consider learning more about Medicare Advantage Plans — also known as Medicare Part C. Medicare Part C plans provide all the benefits as Part A and Part B, but may also offer coverage for other important aspects of your health such as prescription drugs, vision and dental care. Keep in mind, however, the open enrollment is limited to October 15 to December 7 each year.

Exercise

Age is no excuse for letting your muscles, bones and joints go to waste. Even if you suffer with issues such as arthritis, there’s still plenty of ways to stay active. Aquatic exercises for seniors utilize the buoyancy of water to ease pressure on the joint. Water aerobics is low impact and reduces the risk of falls. If you’d rather get outdoors and enjoy nature, the benefits of walking cannot be underscored enough. Not only will walking increase your aerobic capacity, walking a few days out of week can actually give you a more positive outlook on life and improve your physical health.

Stay social

One of the biggest downfalls of leaving the workforce is that you no longer have access to other adults on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this social isolation leads to stagnant lifestyles with approximately 70 percent of seniors between the ages of 65 and 74 reporting long periods of inactivity. Turn your downtime into social time by attending church, volunteering, or joining a club that caters to your interests. Whether you like to travel, read, work puzzles or even collect stamps — there’s a group for that.

Don’t destroy your diet

While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the occasional overindulgence, your body will thank you if you fuel it properly. Start with a good breakfast each day – preferably something full of fiber, such as oatmeal. If you haven’t already, take some time and research foods that can combat issues that go along with age. For instance, Senior Lifestyle points out that salmon, which is rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, can help slow mental degeneration. Likewise, snack foods such as dark chocolate and walnuts contain compounds that can improve circulation, reduce blood pressure and boost a host of cognitive functions.

With age comes a level of freedom like you’ve never known before. But in order to enjoy your sovereign ways, you have to pay attention to – and prioritize – your health. So exercise, eat right and keep an open line of communication with your doctor and your social network. Doing so will help you enjoy all the benefits of age.

Post courtesy of Karen Weeks at Elderwellness.net