As the numbers of aging people who need long-term care grows, options are becoming more confusing and costly. Nationwide, costs for long-term care in multiple categories have risen faster than the rate of inflation over the past year.
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Finding a care facility with the right combination of price, amenities, and services becomes more difficult by the day. But people who research the options available and select the specific services their loved ones need do better.
Determining the cost and how to finance it seems to be the first step. Prices have risen at assisted-care facilities 17% over the past five years. Costs of private rooms at nursing homes have risen 4%. Home health-care spending by Medicare beneficiaries rose 129%.
Those who have long-term care insurance have coverage for an array of expenses. But the policies have generally been money losers for insurance companies and many are dropping their coverage.
Some solutions are for married couples to buy an immediate annuity to preserve assets for the spouse who is still well while providing care for the one who is not. Such an annuity would not count against them in qualifying for assistance from Medicaid.
In choosing the right type of care and the right type of facility, the first assessment should be of the specific daily tasks clients or loved ones of clients can no longer manage on their own. That will help you assist your clients in deciding if they can manage with in-home assistance, if an assisted living arrangement may suffice, or if a more complete care facility is needed.
Independent living facilities are another choice. They provide some services such as transportation, some meals, and concierge services. Families can also hire their own home care separately.
Regardless of the type of care needed, this is an opportunity for you to devise an investment plan with your clients that will help them prepare for whatever care they might need
, taking inflation and other considerations into account.