As the saying goes, life’s a journey, not a destination. And although the journey to getting older will be different for everyone, there are some steps we should all take to help ensure a secure older age.
When it comes to aging, everyone – rich and poor – shares the same losses, transitions and challenges in their lives. The only real difference is that people with financial means have options that the poor do not.
But no matter what your finances may be, there are ways to plan for the challenges and be as prepared as possible for an uncertain future. Plus, there are things you should know to help you make the best decisions along the way.
The following five tips will help you get started:
1.) Start saving – It’s never too early to start saving. Open a 401K the first day you start your first job. You will never miss the percentage you choose to allocate to this forced savings and, depending on global finances, this can add up quickly over time.
2.) Purchase long term care insurance – This vehicle is getting harder to find, but is still a good option. The average cost of a day in a nursing home on the east coast is upwards of $400! That’s approximately $125K to $150K a year. In less than a few years, this number will be at $500 a day. If you have between $300K -$1 million, it’s wise to have a policy. If you have less than that figure, then you would be eligible for a Medicaid subsidy. If you have more than $1 million available, then you should be able to afford the cost of care.
3.) Be prepared to subsidize your Medicare policy with supplemental insurance – Accept that Medicare pays very little and will probably pay even less in the years to come. Having an additional prescription program or gap insurance can save thousands on out-of-pocket expenses.
4.) Focus on estate planning – No matter how large or small your estate will be, estate planning is critical for smooth and efficient long term care planning. Proper planning includes:
5.) Stay at home for as long as possible – The majority of Americans state that their preference is to die at home. Regrettably, only about five to seven percent of people over the age of 85 do so. If one’s home is paid for and the physical environment is safe for the older person – or can be adapted to be safe – then it would be wise to hire competent, licensed home care with supervision by a nurse as well as the option of geriatric care management oversight.
Although there are no guarantees in life, planning for a secure older age is possible. It’s important to start early and know your options. And if you feel home care is the best option for you, simply give us a call. We’d love to talk with you about our services.
– Barbra London, MSW, LCSW, LNHA