Long-term care — A little help along the way to a long, fulfilling life

Long-term care — A little help along the way to a long, fulfilling life

Older woman smiling in front of her birthday cake

Americans are living longer than ever, which is something to be very happy about. As you prepare for your own healthy and active retirement, add another item to your to-do list: planning for the possibility of long-term care. Exploring your options now can help lead you to a more secure retirement.

The care you need, when you need it most

No matter how healthy we are now, most of us may need a little help as we get along in years. When everyday activities start to become difficult to handle on our own, long-term care can help us manage, while living our lives with dignity. There are several types of long-term care available, depending on the level of assistance needed: 

  • Home care — If you need a little help around the house with things like cooking or cleaning.
  • Assisted living facilities — These are residential facilities that offer personal care services, such as meals, housekeeping and entertainment, along with varying levels of assistance with daily activities.
  • Nursing homes — These facilities are for people who may need the kind of round-the-clock care and supervision that’s not generally offered in assisted living facilities.

Consider the costs

Most senior care facilities charge on a month-by-month basis, but some require a longer-term lease. Assisted living is often more expensive than home health care, while skilled nursing homes are typically the most expensive.

The majority of assisted living facilities use a tiered pricing model with bundled services — residents requiring the least amount of assistance pay the lowest rate.

Where will the money come from?

The majority of Americans rely on a combination of personal savings, Social Security, pensions, and government benefits to pay the costs of long-term care. Here’s a look at some of the options:

Long-term care insurance pays a fixed dollar amount for assisted living, skilled care, and in some cases in-home care. Some policies offer lifetime coverage, while others provide coverage for a specified number of years or total benefit amount. The cost of long-term care insurance depends on your age and health at the time of application. The older or less healthy you are, the more it costs.

Medicare does not cover costs for assisted living or nursing homes. However, the medical expenses you incur while at these facilities may be covered by Medicare, just as they would if the medical procedures occurred in a doctor’s office or hospital.

Medicaid coverage for long-term care varies by state and is sometimes available to low-income seniors or seniors with very minimal assets.

Veteran’s benefits may offer long-term care support through the Veteran’s Administration. Eligibility is determined based on need for ongoing treatment, personal care and assistance, as well as the availability of the service in your location. Financial eligibility and other factors also apply.

Plan now, enjoy the benefits later

Every financial plan should include an assessment of long-term care needs. When it comes time to evaluate your long-term care options, it’s important that you ensure adequate funding is available for as long as care is needed. There are professionals available to help you navigate the ins and outs — your financial advisor is a good place to start.

This material is provided for general and educational purposes only; it is not intended to provide legal, tax or investment advice. All investments are subject to risk. We recommend that you consult an independent legal or financial professional for specific advice about your individual situation. 

Securities offered through Voya Financial Advisors, Inc. member SIPC.