Planning for long-term care brings a lot to think about; not only do you need to consider the costs, but it’s also important to factor in your current health and any family history of a medical condition that might necessitate such care. Making modifications to your home to ensure your safety is also a good idea, especially if you or your spouse have a disability or mobility issue. These are all major considerations that can have far-reaching consequences, so it’s imperative to think carefully about what your needs are now and what they might be down the road.
Doing some research will help you figure out the best way to plan for the cost of future care, especially if you are not yet of retirement age. There are several options, but most of these come with specific rules and criteria that have to be met, so you’ll want to read the fine print carefully.
Keep reading for some great tips on how to plan for long-term care.
Consider Your Lifestyle
Your current lifestyle can have an effect on your future health, so think about what changes you can make now in order to prevent the need for long-term care down the road. Quitting smoking or drinking, eating a well-balanced diet, exercising every day, and going for regular checkups at the doctor can all have a huge positive effect on the way you feel, both now and in the future.
Make Changes to Your Home
Modifying your home to make it safer can have multiple benefits, including helping you prevent falls or accidents. Even if you’re in perfect health now, it’s not a bad idea to make small changes in order to make sure everything is accessible five or 10 years from now. Adding lighting to dim areas, placing a grab bar in the bathroom, and installing a step-in shower are all relatively easy ways to make your home a safer place.
Think About Your Family History
If you have a family history of illness or disease, talk to your doctor about what you can do to prevent it from affecting you. Dementia, cancer, and diabetes are three of the most common illnesses that people have a genetic link to, so talk to your family members about their own histories to find out what you might be at risk for.
Go Over Your Finances
Paying for long-term care can be costly, so it’s important to go over your finances now to get an idea of where things stand. Look at your savings. Ask yourself: Are you close to retirement age? Do you have an IRA in place with your employer? Pay close attention to your budget and figure out how much you could afford to pay if you needed in-home or hospital care.
Look Into Supplemental Care
Humana Medicare Advantage plans offer the same coverage as Medicare Parts A and B, but some plans also include benefits for prescriptions, dental, vision, fitness services, caregiver support and a 24/7 nursing advice line. Do some research to find out the criteria for these types of plans and to learn when the enrollment periods are. It might be wise to open a health saving account as well, which can help prepare for any medical expenses down the road. These accounts allow you to add money with pre-tax dollars and you never run the risk of losing your money. Beware, though, that only people with high-deductible health plans qualify for an HSA.
Planning for long-term care can easily become overwhelming if you aren’t prepared for the work involved, so take things slowly and get organized; keeping excellent records is imperative during this process. Taking care of yourself by reducing stress and anxiety as much as possible will help boost your mental health and allow you to focus on the job at hand.
June Duncan is the co-creator of Rise Up for Caregivers, which offers support for family members and friends who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their loved ones. She is the author of the upcoming book, The Complete Guide to Caregiving: A Daily Companion for New Senior Caregivers.