Where Do I Go From Here?
Much of my writing is directed to planning for an eventual outcome. That outcome is that you or a loved one is going to need assistance in the future, and that care is going to cost money. In my experience, a good portion of meeting with clients is explaining the different options for long term care. Most people assume the only options are 1) Do nothing and stay at home or 2) Go to a nursing home and spend all your money until it’s gone. With the population aging rapidly, the options for people to be cared for are multiplying. What follows is a list for potential long-term care options. This list is not all-encompassing, and in addition to these listed, most people will utilize a combination of these resources for the best result possible.
1) Do Nothing. Depending on a person’s diagnosis, this is a viable outcome to work towards. Many people die without needing any type of long term care. All planning is a gamble, and it’s entirely possible that nothing needs to be done, and no care will be needed.
2) Be cared for at home by an unpaid relative. This could be a spouse, or a child, or some combination thereof. This can work for some people. It will not work for most. Caregivers are placed under a tremendous amount of stress and are usually not equipped to properly care for a loved one.
3) Be cared for at home by a privately paid professional. This option is viable for some people if they’ve properly saved, have the right set up and support, and hire a good caregiver. In addition, not all people need 24-hour care. This professional may only need to come in a few hours a day or a few days a week. It’s worth checking into if the situation is right. Cost can get high if enough care is required (Approximately $3800-4400 per month).
Family care (a subprogram of Medicaid) is also available to pay for some or all in-home care. However, the same asset requirements apply to family care that apply to Medicaid ($2,000 asset limit) and you can’t choose your own provider in most cases.
4) Senior Apartment. That giant building you see on the horizon? There’s a good chance it might be an apartment building geared towards the needs and interests of seniors. These often include the ability to have on-site care on a regular or emergency basis. Rent is higher than a regular apartment, but proximity to care, along with many very nice amenities makes senior apartments very attractive. There are several extremely nice ones in the Green Bay area, and more are being built every day.
5) Assisted Living Facilities. When a person needs less than 24-hour care, but more than occasional care is required, assisted living facilities can provide these services. Assisted Living Facilities tend to cost slightly less than 24-hour in-home care but much more than a standard senior apartment. (Family care can be utilized).
6) Nursing Home. These are appropriate when a person needs 24-hour professional care. This is also the most expensive option. A private room costs between $7600-8900 per month. If you can’t afford a nursing facility, Medicaid can cover the costs if you meet the asset requirements. As with Family Care, you may not get to choose the facility if you have Medicaid.
These are the options available in most circumstances, and planning can be focused on helping a person achieve the outcome that is most attractive to them.