Surely you know about life insurance, and you likely have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, car insurance, and health insurance. But have you ever heard of long-term care insurance? Many believe this type of 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 in a senior 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 surround paying for senior care.
If you’re thinking ahead about retirement community options for yourself or someone you love, long-term care insurance can be a good resource to have in your pocket. It can help protect the savings accounts you or your parents have built over the years, and it can expand your options for communities to consider.
Discussing Long-Term Care Insurance with Those You Love
In a perfect world, long-term care insurance would be purchased as early as possible. As 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 parents, especially if they’re still in good health right now. 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 retirement community or needed other assisted senior care, your parents are likely already familiar with this world. They might even 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.
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. 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.
Marjorie P. Lee in Cincinnati’s Hyde Park, for instance, offers a cost of living calculator to compare someone’s current monthly expenses with the cost of moving to a retirement community. (Remember: these communities often offer more than just a place to sleep. They have recreation activities, dining options, healthcare staff, and housekeeping—just to name a few.)
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 retirement 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.