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October is Long-Term Care Planning Month

This October, Long-Term Care Planning month, take a moment to reflect on your aging plan and to discuss your plans with those likely to assist you in the home or financially throughout retirement. These conversations are especially valuable now, as we enter the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) for Medicare Plans. While increased medical costs are likely top-of-mind in your retirement planning, other unexpected costs such as custodial care, help with day-to-day activities like transportation and dressing, are not covered by Medicare plans and can create downward financial spirals late in life for seniors living on fixed incomes, and this blind spot is exacerbated as one-third of Americans incorrectly believes Medicare will cover long-term care services and supports.

Men are more likely than women to pay for the outsourcing of elder care, but the ability and desire to afford the outsourcing of this care varies widely for families. In planning for your LTC needs, first determine your, and your loved ones’, expectations for how care will be administered; are you anticipating in-home support from an adult child or family member? Have you discussed these plans with those you expect will be providing this support? If you plan to pay for care, do you plan to pay for care in home or in an institutional setting? Do you understand the costs for paid care in different settings and have a clear plan for affording this care?

These questions can help start the conversation with loved ones so you can align your wishes for long-term care with any affordability and/or accessibility barriers you may face. Once you’ve determined how and where you see yourself living throughout your golden years, you can dive into options for affording care on your terms. Check out these pieces, from the Aging at Home Association, to better understand funding options:

Regardless of your best options for care with age, this month’s planning theme is a great opportunity and reminder to begin these tough conversations about the future with your loved ones, so you aren’t left unprepared and struggling to manage finances and care late in life.  Ensure you have a plan to live the life you want – with confidence!