The Caregiver's Guide to Long-Term Care Insurance

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The Caregiver's Guide to Long-Term Care Insurance

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ECH_The Caregivers Guide to Long-Term Care Insurance

From auto to home, you probably already have a few different kinds of insurance. But have you considered long-term care insurance? Many believe this coverage is a type of health insurance — especially when it’s used to help someone receive skilled nursing care — but it isn’t. 

Long-term care insurance helps older adults cover the cost of personal and custodial support while living in a personal care community or while aging in place. This coverage can help offset or cover the cost of living for senior loved ones and ease the stress and uncertainty that can accompany budgeting for senior care.

If you’re thinking ahead about senior care for yourself or someone you love, long-term care insurance can be a good resource to leverage. Not only can it help protect the savings accounts you or your parents have built over the years, but it can also expand the available housing options. 

Discussing Long-Term Care Insurance with Elderly Loved Ones

In a perfect world, long-term care insurance would be purchased in your aging parents’ younger years. Like with many forms of insurance, when someone is already receiving care or if they are in poor health, they might not be able to receive coverage. That means these insurance decisions need to be made early — ideally before someone is in their mid-60s. 

It can be uncomfortable to have conversations about long-term care insurance and senior care with aging loved ones, especially if he or she is still in good health. We’ve put together some suggestions on ways to start these conversations.

1. Look at Your Family

Sometimes the best way to ease into these conversations with your parents is to talk about their parents. If your grandparents moved into a personal care community or needed other assisted senior care, your parents are likely familiar with this world. They might already be thinking about care options and worrying about how they’ll pay for it. Discussing long-term care insurance could help put their mind at ease. 

Likewise, if any of their friends or relatives had long-term care insurance, bring it up! Talking about their loved ones’ experiences may inspire them to adopt a proactive approach to their own senior care.   

2. Discuss the Financials

Depending on your situation, your parents might be open to sharing their financial information with you. If they are, you can use that as a way to discuss what options they may have available. Long-term care insurance can help supplement their savings or help them afford a nicer retirement community. As with any insurance, the earlier you purchase, the lower your monthly rates will be, which makes planning ahead a smart financial decision.

3. Remember You’re in this Together

As with any difficult conversations with aging parents, it’s important to show them that you’re walking this road with them. By having these conversations in a loving, preparatory way, you can show your parents that you’re thinking ahead, too, and want to be prepared so they can have the best senior care experience possible.

Budgeting for Senior Care

With all this talk of insurance, it might feel like long-term care is impossibly expensive, but that doesn’t have to be the case. As you’re talking with your parents through these points and other cost of living topics, consider researching a few communities your parents might like to visit. See what cost information they provide on their website. If they haven’t published their rates, then call and request more information

Once you’ve looked at actual or estimated costs from retirement communities, you can create a budget for your loved ones to help them feel more in control of their upcoming senior care. As with any budget, start small by seeing what expenses could easily be removed. Are there monthly subscriptions that your parents are no longer using that they could cancel? Depending on how early you and they begin thinking about this, talk with a financial advisor to make sure their savings and investments are in the right spot to help them earn money while not being too risky.

Long-term care insurance can be a great way to help your loved ones pay for senior care in a community they love. The sooner you can have these conversations, the sooner you can begin to take action so your parents will be prepared for their long-term care.

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Kristin Davenport
February 19, 2020
Kristin Davenport is the Director of Communications for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Kristin leads ERS’s efforts to share stories that delight and inspire through social media, online content, annual reports, magazines, newsletters, public relations, and events. Kristin earned her BFA in graphic design from Wittenberg University. She joined ERS after a 25-year career as a visual journalist and creative director in Cincinnati. Kristin is passionate about making Cincinnati a dementia-inclusive city. She is a Lead SAIDO Learning Supporter and a member of the ‘Refresh Your Soul’ conference planning team at ERS. Kristin and her husband Alex, live in Lebanon, Ohio with their 2 daughters. She also serves as a Trustee and the President of the Lebanon Food Pantry and is a board member for ArtScape Lebanon.

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