Aging in place has grown increasingly popular throughout the country. According to an AARP survey, the overwhelming number of people say they would prefer to live out their days in their own homes. It is understandable that so many people would want choose to age comfortably in familiar surroundings rather than relocating to a nursing home or assisted living facility. However, many matters must be considered to finance anticipated longevity. Even if you are able to stay in your current home, chances are you’ll need some assistance, such as home care. Consider the following points in order to adequately plan for the future:
- Address assumptions. Many individuals are not aware that Medicare and other public programs cover a very limited scope of in-home care—the day-to-day chores that many require assistance with, such as housekeeping, meal preparation, bathing, dressing and grooming.
- Address the “what-ifs.” Are you relying on a family member for all in-home care needed? If so, how close do they live? Will this interfere with the career and/or parenting responsibilities of that family member? At what point does it become too much?
- Has the housework you usually take care of become potentially dangerous for you to do by yourself?
- If you will be undergoing surgery, will you need help while recovering? Do you usually need a little extra help after an illness?
- Has your vision started to impair your driving? Do you need someone to drive you to run errands or to doctor appointments?
- How safe is your home for you? Consider having a geriatric care manager perform a home evaluation.
- Complete a fall prevention checklist and consider changes to help prevent falls as well as devices such as a personal emergency response system in case you face an emergency. Did you know that according to the Consumer Product Safety Council, after the age of 65, 6 out of 10 visits a person will make to a hospital emergency room are a result of a fall in or around the home? And according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, 30 percent of people over the age of 65 fall each year. However, 40 percent of these falls are preventable.
- Are you shopping for long-term care insurance? How well do you understand policy terms or the claim process?
- Have you discussed your options for insurance, healthcare and finances as well as your priorities with key people such as family members and professional advisors?
Purchasing insurance can be a confusing process. If you are purchasing long-term care insurance, there are resources available to help you through this process. If you work with a financial advisor, ask them to sit down with you and answer any questions you have and make sure you feel comfortable with what you are purchasing. The National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information (http://www.longtermcare.gov/LTC/Main_Site/index.aspx) has a lot of good information to review. Home healthcare companies like EasyLiving will work with clients to understand and navigate the claims process and make an easy transition to getting the in-home care they require for successful aging in place.