A new consumer survey reveals adults fear not having enough money to pay for their long-term care, yet only one in five have taken any steps to finance their long-term care expenses.
The survey by Genworth Financial Inc., which provides long-term care insurance, reported half of the respondents shrugging off any responsibility for their own care, opting instead to leave it to the government, their family, community or faith-based organizations. Some respondents had no idea who would provide care in their senior years.
The sobering results of this survey come just as long-term care specialists are marking Long-Term Care Awareness Month in November and urging people to plan ahead.
“Research shows 70 percent of all people over the age of 65 will need some kind of long-term care, yet, people simply aren’t taking the time to prepare,” said Barbara Franklin, owner of Franklin & Associates Inc., a Charleston-based company offering both traditional and innovative approaches to long-term care planning and financing as well as assistance sorting out Medicare options. “Many people simply assume the government will pay for non-medical care at home or in an assisted living facility, when that is just not the case.”
Franklin offers the following tips to help people think through their long-term care options:
1. Determine whether purchasing a long-term care insurance policy could be right for you. Even though premiums have been increasing, it’s becoming harder to qualify so the time to act is now. A long-term care specialist can help you weigh the benefits versus the cost.
2. Understand the cost of paying out of pocket for care in a facility or at home. Many people don’t realize just how costly that can be. The 2017 Genworth Cost of Care Survey shows that the average cost of an assisted living facility in the Charleston area is $2,340 a month. A private room in a nursing home averages $7,361 a month. The monthly cost of a home health aide in the Charleston area is $3,813 a month (based on 40 hours a week of care).
3. Can your adult children or other family members help with your future care? It’s important for families to discuss long-term care responsibilities and who will bear the cost. Adult children, for example, may not be financially prepared to take on the cost of care for their parents.
4. Understand what government programs cover and, more importantly, what they don’t. According to the Genworth consumer survey, two out of three adults expect government programs to partially or fully cover the costs of their long-term care services. The reality is that Medicare pays for only limited care, and Medicaid has strict financial eligibility requirements.
“I realize these are tough conversations and they aren’t always the most pleasant, but families can really save themselves stress and financial strain down the road if they take time to talk about these issues now,” Franklin said. “The approaching holidays are an ideal time to gather aging parents, grown children and other family members together to discuss options and work toward a plan for long-term care that is beneficial for everyone.”
About Franklin & Associates
Founded in 1995 by Barbara Franklin, Franklin & Associates is a Charleston-based company offering both traditional and innovative approaches to long-term care planning and financing. Company representatives are active in the senior services community as both board members and volunteers, including with the Greater Charleston Chapter of the National Aging in Place Council and Lowcountry Senior Network. For more information, call 843-762-4260 or visit www.franklinassociatesinc.com.