By Bobbie Holtz, Certified Concierge Care Advisor
I recently visited a new client while she was in the hospital. She is 93 and lives alone in an apartment where she has resided for 25 years. She was admitted to the hospital for a fall, which was her third fall that week. As I talked with her, I asked questions about how she gets around at home and takes care of herself. She acknowledged that she needs help but didn’t know what her options were. She mentioned she has children, but that they are all older, and she didn’t want to bother them. Fast forward a few weeks; I visited her in-home and learned that she had discharged back home to the same situation she was in before she was previously admitted to the hospital. This time, she realized that she did need to go to an assisted living community. Unfortunately, her income was low, and even after she obtained Medicaid, the coverage offered was low and as a result, it is difficult to find a place that will accept her.
In the last few weeks, I have met a handful of people that are in need of next-step care. Their financial circumstance makes it difficult to find a solution. The most common occurrence is for the adult children to contact me for assistance for their parent(s). They are often supporting their own children and/or themselves, and saving for college as well as their own retirement. When there is no savings, no long-term care insurance, and no assets, it is difficult to find homes or communities that will take the higher level of care needed for the senior(s).
It’s heart-breaking knowing that there are not many options for someone who has worked their whole life and raised a family. This state of affairs creates fear and places stress on the client and their families.
Although starting to save money at retirement age is difficult, there are some strategies to consider when the time comes for a higher level of care. Here are some ideas:
- Meet with a senior living advisor or other research to determine what the costs for care are
- Meet with a financial advisor to learn how to save money, even a small amount monthly
- Start paying on a Long-Term Care Policy. A Long-Term care policy is an insurance policy that pays for long term care either in a nursing home or in a patient’s home. Long term care refers to custodial care as opposed to medical care (in other words the patient may not be sick but needs help with things around the home)
- See if you qualify for Veterans Benefits. If either you or your spouse served in the military during war time, you could receive up to $2,100 per month
- Having assets like owning a home or property helps tremendously. Most don’t realize that the cost of owning a home is often nearly as much, and sometimes more, than the cost of assisted living
- Talk to a professional about your options; at Concierge Care Advisors, we have vetted professionals we can refer you to and who may help you with options
As people go through their lives, many don’t think about how much money they will need to retire, or the costs of care and housing. Often, the first time it comes up is when they suddenly have to help a parent plan for care and housing.
Plan ahead so that you have some security knowing that you will be able to afford a standard of living you will be comfortable with in your golden years.