Livens & Reed, PLLC

Important to plan for cost of long-term care now

According to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services' Administration on Aging, adults from Texas and all across the country over the age of 65 will eventually need some assistance with basic life tasks. On average, women will need help for over 3.5 years with bathing, dressing and eating, while men will require just over two years of assistance. While this need for long-term care is evident, the cost of the care is prohibitive for many.

Studies show that many senior adults depend on relatives to provide them care. However, conditions often require them to live in a skilled nursing facility or seek in-home care. The cost of each of these options can quickly mount and deplete what little savings some retirees have amassed.

Unfortunately, the day-to-day care is not usually covered by health insurance or Medicare. When savings are gone, Medicaid takes effect and often covers approximately half of daily life care and nursing home expenses. This can be traumatic for senior adults who are now living longer. If one spouse was ill and required significant long-term care before he or she passed away, the surviving spouse would be left with little resources on which to live.

Financial planners recommend developing a plan to address these issues. One possible option is to purchase a long-term care insurance policy. While everyone may be not qualify, these policies often cover a portion of the exorbitant costs of long-term care. There are also hybrid policies that leave money unused for care available to heirs. Others may utilize their home equity or investments to obtain money for nursing homes or other care.

Everyone's situations are different and there is not a "one size fits all" solution to long-term care needs. What is important to note is that everyone should consider having a plan for their future health care. A Texas attorney familiar with elder law issues can discuss the various options with clients and determine how best to meet their needs.

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