What Choices Are There When Someone Can’t Take Care of Themselves Any Longer?

Grandpa What if your parents can’t take care of themselves when they are old? Worse, what if you can’t take care of yourself when you are old? There are many options and resources we can choose when we face caring for an aging parent or considering our own futures:

  • Children provide care for their elderly or disabled parents in their home or in their parents home.
  • A home-health care service can be arranged.
  • Adult Day Care Centers
  • Assisted-living facilities
  • Nursing Homes.

The huge problem is paying for the kind of help, we would want for our parents or for ourselves. In 2003 Metropolitan Life Insurance Co conducted a national survey and found the average nursing home room was $181 a day, equal to about $66,000 a year. If rates continue to reflect the annual increases seen in the past for nursing-home costs in 2021, the average rate will rise to about $480 a day, or $175,200 annually. Just about the time a person the age of 60 today might need nursing home care.

It isn’t likely many of our parents will have this kind of money saved to cover such costs for care, and the government isn’t likely to pick up the cost of this level of care especially for the baby-boomer generation.

Grandma When the time comes to make the decision on how to care for aging parents there are not too many choices on how to fund the costs of long term care. Families have to look at the options. For the simplicity of this Blog lets consider highest level of care you or your parents may need–full time Nursing Home Care. What choice for funding do we actually have?

Point Public assistance: Medicare or Medicaid

Medicare covers:

  • To qualify:
    You have been hospitalized 3 days prior to needing skilled-nursing care, and a doctor certifies that you need it.
  • Coverage includes:
    Semiprivate room.
    Nursing services (not private duty).
    Supplies and equipment, and medicine furnished by facility.
  • What is paid:
    Skilled-nursing-facility expenses for 20 days. Then you are responsible for a co-payment (now $105 a day). The plan ceases payments after 100 days per benefit period. (A benefit period begins the first time you are hospitalized and ends only after you have been out of the hospital for 60 days.)

Medicaid Covers:

  • Nursing homes
    To qualify:
    You meet a state-determined poverty level and certain health-related criteria. Generally, you may keep only the house in which your spouse or dependent resides, the furniture, a car, a burial plot and funeral funds, and a small amount of cash, often $2,000.
  • Coverage includes:
    Room, board, nursing care, and social activities in the nursing facility.
  • What is paid:
    Room, board, nursing care, and social activities.

Point Self-insurance:

  • Savings
  • Investments
  • Liquidation of All personal Assets
  • Depend on family to care for the needs of elderly parents financially.

Point Private long term care insurance.

If you are anything like me the only real answer is long-term-care insurance. In the 1980’s the insurance companies realized the baby-boomers (our parents for the most part) needed a long-term disability plan otherwise the burden of meeting the needs of the elderly would be catastrophic for society. Long-term health insurance promises to pay the expenses of people consigned to nursing homes or needing other forms of long-term care.

But will this kind of insurance really work? And is it the right choice for you, or your parents? Be sure to check the next Blog for more information about Long-Term Health Insurance.

Point Other Blogs In This Series:

Point Related Blogs:

Photo credits for this blog entry: sxc (no use restrictions for these photos)

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