How to avoid spending your last days in a nursing home

One sentence I’ve yet to have a potential client say is, “When I’m old, I hope to live my last days in a nursing home.”

I hear you loud and clear – that’s not your preference.

As the co-owner of YourLTCresources.net, I’m an extended care professional, and have been for the better part of the past 30 years. Helping you provide for yourself and your family in the ways you want is the best part of my job.

I know nursing home living is not part of your plan, so let’s map out a health care insurance plan that factors in your ideas, your finances, and your family. If you are approaching your 50s, right now is a great time to make key decisions while you are still vital and healthy, and make your preferences known.

I often refer to myself as a “tour guide” in the labyrinth of Long-Term and Short-Term Health Care Insurance options. Navigating that path on behalf of my clients is what I do best. And the best news I have for you is, you have a LOT of choices!

When we sit down to talk, it’s you that will be telling me what’s important to you, and how you want to live out your life. What I do is provide you with options that work with your ideas and your budget. Together we can plan for every health contingency.

You’ve worked hard to set up your life the way you want it to be. Let me help you align your future health and well being in the same way.

~ Elise

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What boomers can do about retirement housing options, post market downturn

The May issue of Financial Planning magazine included a great article called Elder Housing Options. As the co-owner of YourLTCresources.net, I thought the article was well-researched, providing all types of data about those of us in middle age, quickly approaching retirement-decision age. As boomers know well, the past several years have not been financially kind to them.

As Financial Planning states, “For boomers, the housing market downturn couldn’t have come at a worse time. A large percentage (of boomers) no longer have the means to buy into appropriate senior-living facilities as they age.”

According to the Federal Reserve, the overall value of real estate owned by U.S. households fell to $17.65 trillion in 2012 from $22.7 trillion in 2006.

“And much of that decline hit boomers the hardest,” said Financial Planning magazine author June Fletcher, “since most were in their peak earning years when the financial meltdown occurred and were living in the largest homes they would ever own.”

Financial Planning magazine recommends doing what is possible now to stretch your retirement housing dollars, for instance:

  • Invest your portfolio more aggressively
  • Lower your taxes (possibly by moving to a state with lower or no state income taxes)
  • Remodel your home to make it more senior-friendly
  • Consider an ECHO home (temporary prefab units on a relative’s property)
  • Get a reverse mortgage (borrowing against the equity of your home)

Investing wisely and downsizing are good ideas. Another sound financial piece of wisdom is to think ahead and prepare for your future now, while you are healthy.

Need information and resources to make informed educated decisions about your future? That’s my specialty and my passion. I can help you learn what Long-Term Care Health Insurance, Critical Care and Short-Term Care Insurance can do to help you protect your financial future.                             ~ Elise

A painful lesson on adding (financial) insult to (health) injury

When I read Christine’s story (click HERE to read), my heart ached for her. The co-founder of the business “The Parent Care Solution,” Christine and her husband Dan created their company together after caring for Dan’s father, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

Even though Christine and Dan, both in their 50s, had worked with dozens of couples who were under-insured and struggling to provide healthcare for an ill spouse, they had not yet invested in Long-Term Care Health Insurance for themselves. As many do, they thought they were too young for any devastating health problems.

Unfortunately, they were wrong. Dan was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 55  and died just 13 months later. After Dan was diagnosed, he could not buy Long-Term or Short-Term Health Insurance. And as the owners of a small business, Christine and Dan were under-insured with their health insurance. Thirteen months of surgeries, chemotherapy, and hospital stays took their toll not only emotionally on the two, but also financially.

As Christine says, I became painfully aware of how important it is to have a plan during such an emotionally trying time… The longer you wait, the fewer choices you will have and the more it will cost you, emotionally as well as monetarily.”

Nothing could have eased the terrible pain and emotional suffering of this couple. But when it came to financial pain, financial health care planning could have made a big difference. The lesson Christine learned the hard way could be acted upon by you early enough to make a difference in your life and that of your spouse.

It’s just too easy to postpone talking about difficult matters. As the owner of YourLTCresources, I consider it is my personal passion to guide the “Christines and Dans” of this world with the information and resources they need to make informed, educated decisions about their future. I hope you’ll contact me to learn about what Long-Term Care Health Insurance, Critical Care and Short-Term Health Care Insurance can do for you.                                                      ~ Elise

Your health care is a lot to ask of your children

70 percent of Americans who reach age 65 will need Long-Term care at some point, but few are prepared to pay for it, according to a new report by the SCAN Foundation on the State of Long-Term Care Financing. The report also finds that families bear a huge part of the burden, providing $450 billion in unpaid care-giving and over $63 billion in out of pocket costs.

No matter how close you are to your children, that’s a lot to ask of them. Your family may be an exception, but the fact is that families are very different now than they were a generation or two ago. Parents remarry. Sometimes more than once. Today’s adult children may have several “parent-figures.” And today’s young adults are moving farther away, and moving more often.

As a step-parent myself, I understand today’s families are complicated. Those approaching retirement assume that they will be able to rely on government support or their immediate family to provide for their care in the future, but that is no longer true. And, according to a 2010 Harris Interactive survey conducted by Age Wave, “(Seniors) are generally more afraid of burdening their family than dying.”

Long-Term Care Insurance helps mitigate some of that family complication by transferring the financial and care risk to a fixed, pre-determined place – your insurance plan. With a well-thought-out retirement plan and Long-Term Health Care Insurance, you won’t need to worry about your future care – and neither will your children..

I know from years in the financial and insurance industry that knowledge is power. I would add to that, “Risk is risk.”

Take it upon yourself to make an informed health care decision and complete a written, insured plan. Your children will thank you.

~ Elise

Long-Term Health Care has evolved!

As consumers, we decide where we want to live, the type of car we prefer to drive, where to buy groceries, and so forth, right down to the type of phone we use. With Baby Boomers, it’s all about choices. And with 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every single day over the next two decades, “Boomer’s choice” is definitely a part of the Long-Term Health Care system.

As a Boomer myself, I love choices! I welcome Long-Term Health Care Insurance in its many forms – many of them hybrids to make sure the policies work just as we need them to. Taking a new, more individualized approach allows us as consumers to dial up or dial down the health and insurance features that meet their want, needs and range of budget.

It’s great to see this freedom of choice when it comes to both insurance to public programs, Short-Term Care policies, private family support, self funding, Long-Term/life insurance hybrids, or even a combination of these.

Make sure you tailor a Health Care Insurance plan around your particular considerations. A good place to start in your planning is to evaluate the cost of care where you intend to live. As shocking as this is, a private room in a nursing home can easily run to $83,950 per year, according to a new report by the SCAN Foundation on the State of Long-Term Care Financing.

It’s not easy to think about these issues, but knowledge is power, and planning is critical to assure you get the care you might need. Since there are so many choices available, why not choose the plan that works best for you?   ~ Elise

Preparing for planning

You’ve probably heard the saying, “proper prior planning prevents a poor plan!” When you’re relatively young and healthy, no one wants to think about Long-Term Care health insurance. But planning ahead is what makes this program so wise.

The Flashlight Story is a great example of this from Patrick Broccolo, owner of Senior1Care in a marketing meeting recently:

With the history of violent thunderstorms and tornados in Indiana, what’s the one thing we should all have ready for outages or damage? A flashlight, of course, but preferably with working batters. Patrick has the flashlight but it needs D batteries. He admits that it would be easy enough even to grab some off the end cap of the grocery or hardware store. But when does he actually buy the batteries? After the crisis – after the electricity is out.

Obviously, you get the message. Here’s few ideas for keeping your “batteries” in place:

  • Get regular checkups to keep yourself healthy as possible for as long as possible.  
  • Consult your accountant and lawyer.
  • Talk to your family about your future plans!
  • Do not assume Medicare covers everything.
  • Consider what could happen if you need Medicaid.
  • Look at Long-Term and Short-Term Health Care insurance and find out what options work best for you.

Your “flashlight” should be charged up and ready when you need it. Be sure you look ahead and are prepared for your future!   ~ Elise