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Planning and Preparing for Long-Term Care: Tips for Seniors

Planning for long-term care isn’t an easy thing to do. Few of us want to think about being ill or dealing with the financial end of finding good care when we need it, and it can be overwhelming to think about what the costs will be. While no one can predict the future, it’s still possible to plan for your long-term care needs and prepare yourself for the realities of it. One of the keys is to think about your current lifestyle and what kind of changes you can make to ensure that your future health and safety won’t be an issue.

You can also start saving money and thinking about the financial end. You may not have an exact number when it comes to how much you’ll need, but you can do some research into the costs associated with hospital stays, extended visits to an assisted living facility, and how much Medicare or Medicaid will pay for. Being prepared will prevent any nasty surprises.

Keep reading for some great tips on how to plan and prepare for your future needs.

Think About Life Insurance, Savings, and Investments

It can be stressful to think about paying for your future needs; many seniors have savings or receive benefits on a monthly basis, but many of them still fear that they won’t have enough to sustain them from month to month after retirement. Look at your savings, investments, and Social Security benefits to get an idea of how much you have set aside, and consider selling a life insurance policy to bulk up your savings account. Not only can this help you pay for long-term care if Medicare doesn’t cover everything, but it can also aid in taking care of medical bills and keep you out of debt. Just keep in mind, however, that your policy will be reduced.

Plan

Take a look at your current lifestyle. What can be changed now that will positively affect your future health? Quitting smoking, getting daily exercise, eating well, and making changes to your home to increase your mobility are all great places to start. Your home should be both comfortable and safe — now and 10 years down the road. Look for trip hazards to prevent falls and make modifications such as installing grab bars in the shower. Another way to reduce your chances of falling is to work on strengthening your body. If you’re a senior with a Medicare Advantage plan, you may have access to fitness facilities around the country through Silver Sneakers. Check your coverage to see if you’re eligible.

You can also consider downsizing if your home is large or has stairs that could become an issue down the road. If you choose to sell your home, you’re usually better off enlisting the help of a real estate agent. A qualified agent can help you stage your home, decide on a price, and market the home.

It’s also a good idea to take a look at your family history. Are there any illnesses or diseases that you may be predisposed for? Cancer, diabetes, and heart issues can run in the family, so talk to your loved ones and get a physical to make sure you’re in the best health you can be in. This will also help you make changes that will benefit you later in life.

Write out a living will and have a lawyer help you finalize it. This way, you can appoint someone to be your power of attorney in the event that you can’t make decisions for yourself down the road, and you can plan out what you want as far as care or end-of-life arrangements go.

Planning and preparing for long-term care and possible future needs can be a big job, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Make lists of all the things that you need to take care of and cross off each item as you go so you can stay organized. Having a good plan will help you feel in control and will ensure that nothing gets overlooked.

June Duncan 💚 june@riseupforcaregivers.org

www.riseupforcaregivers.org