Q. What are the chances a Senior may have to go into a nursing home?
A. Latest Government and health industry studies indicate a 65 year old man's probability of a nursing home stay sometime during the rest of his life is 33%. A 65 year old woman's chance is 50% primarily because she will live to an older age, usually as a widow. Men, generally have an excellent long term care system. Their wives. Women, especially widows years after their husband's passing, are not as fortunate. The large majority of nursing home residents are women.
Q. Is a nursing home stay expensive?
A. Nursing home costs in rural areas average $35-65,000 a year. Larger cities run $65-95,000+, in New York and some other large metropolitan areas, some nursing homes run $100,000+. There are other options also available, we suggest that you research home health care, and assisted living facilities before you make any final decisions.
Q. What is the average stay in a nursing home?
A. About 2 ½ years. Half go in for less than a year. Alzheimer disease (the fastest growing illness affecting Seniors) and stroke patients could stay in as long as 5-10 years or more.
Q. How long can I afford to pay for nursing home care?
A. A third of all Americans would be financially wiped out in 13 weeks. The rest could not hold out for 1-2 years before becoming ruined financially. How long would it take you to run through your personal savings and investments at $35-95,000 a year depending on where you go into a nursing home?
Q. Does Medicare pay for nursing home care?
A. Only up to 100 days of skilled care with a hefty co-payment by the patient. 98% of the care needed for stroke, Alzheimer patients is only custodial such as bathing, dressing, eating, daily non medical care. Medicare pays nothing for this. You must pay the full cost, or be poor to qualify for Medicaid.
Q. Does Medicaid pay for nursing home care?
A. Only if you spend down and become poor to qualify. You can no longer give your assets away to your family and attempt to qualify for Medicaid. Generally you have to plan 3-5 years in advance to qualify for Medicaid if you want to gift your assets to your family. The law has become very complex and imposes stiff ineligibility periods if careful planning is not done years in advance. Medicaid is no longer a viable option for most middle class Americans. Only work with a very knowledgeable elder law attorney if you want to explore Medicaid as a possible option.
Q. What is the solution?
A. The first step is awareness. Realize that you are on your own to prepare for this. Neither the government nor your children will be able to provide or pay for the devastating cost of nursing homes. Medicaid will not be an option unless you become broke by the time you apply. Take action now to protect you and your loved ones. We suggest that you look into many options available for Long Term Care Insurance policies. But always work with a team of legal, insurance and financial asset protection advisors. For example sometimes you can just transfer a CD into a financial vehicle that would provide long term care, life insurance and still grow in cash value if you are insurable. There are more options that most people are aware of. Most importantly safeguard, and don't lull yourself to think it could never happen to you or your loved one. Again, Plan with safeguards, if you don't have a plan, the government has a plan for you, and it more than likely is not one that would comfort you.
Q. What can I do?
A. Again, plan in advance while you are healthy and can make educated and careful decisions! You can't just give away your assets and apply for Medicaid - without risking ineligibility and still having to pay the bill. You must plan for possible nursing home care well in advance. You can't wait for a crisis to happen before you do something about it. Then the options became too expensive and painful.
Q. How can I plan for this?
A. Work with an attorney and insurance advisor. Long Term Care Insurance in conjunction with legal strategies is the best solution.
Q. How does Long Term Care Insurance Work?
A. It can usually be purchased up to age 82 and even older if you are generally healthy. Depending on the policy, you can cover part or all of the cost of a home health care or nursing home stay. Work only with an advisor that knows all the ins and outs of this type of insurance. Other options are also available as mentioned above by simply transferring assets if you are insurable into vehicles that will provide you with long term care and life insurance and allow your savings to grow in value should you need the cash otherwise.
Q. Is nursing home insurance expensive?
A. It can be if you wait too long to get it. Again, there are life insurance policies that will also cover for Long term care and provide a growing cash value as well. Long Term Care insurance is far less expensive than not having it. Even if you paid 20 years of premiums is still less than 1 to 2 years in a nursing home in most cities. You can't save for Long term Care. Going Into a Nursing Home Is Not The Worst Thing That Can Happen. Not Safeguarding For It Is!
Q. When should I start planning?
A. Right now! You will never again be as young and as healthy as you are now. This is a family matter. I believe in multigenerational- Generational planning. Medicaid laws are getting tougher every year. Don't wait until its too late because you think "it won't happen to me". Start by contacting an attorney right away.
Q. Can't this wait? I don't want to think about this!
A. No it shouldn't wait. Unless you become aware of the magnitude of this problem, you may never act upon it. Nobody wakes up and says "What a beautiful day, I think I'll go into a nursing home". Planning and action are essential because a catastrophic illness usually strikes with little or no warning like a thief in the night. As seniors get older, this possibility, sadly, sneaks more suddenly.
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