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Planning Ahead: How to Prepare for the Possibility of Long-Term Care

Originally Published on ElderWellness.net By Karen Weeks

Planning ahead for your post-retirement years can be complicated. Not only do you need to think about your ability to keep your finances where they need to be, but it’s also imperative to consider your health and well-being. For most seniors, that includes taking a look into the future to figure out a plan for potential long-term care. Even if you don’t have any health problems now, you may face issues down the road that require a stay in a nursing home or hospital, and those stays can quickly become expensive. Even if you have Medicare, it may not cover long-term care, or it may only cover a certain amount of days.

Planning ahead for your future may take some careful thought, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Formulating a plan of action will help you feel prepared and give you peace of mind; for instance, you might take into account your current lifestyle and make some changes to incorporate a healthier routine. Additionally, you can look for insurance plans that will help ensure your final arrangements are taken care of. This will prevent your loved ones from having to cover outstanding medical bills in the event of your death, as well.

Here are a few things to consider when it comes to planning for long-term care.

Get Familiar with Your Insurance Plan

Your health insurance policy will come in handy for many things over the years, but it may not cover long-term care, especially if you eventually require a stay in a hospital or nursing facility. Medicare may cover certain aspects of this type of care, but there may be limitations that leave you paying out-of-pocket. Get to know the details of your insurance plan so you’re not faced with a hard decision down the line; if necessary, consider a supplemental plan that will help you pay for whatever you need when you need it.

Think About Burial Insurance

It can be difficult to think about our final arrangements, but doing so can help prevent any issues for your loved ones in the event of your death. For instance, you can ensure that your wishes are met while also providing extra money for any outstanding medical bills or other debts. Making arrangements for burial insurance now can actually help to save you money, as rates tend to increase by 2 to 4 percent in your 50s compared to 6 to 8 percent when you’re in your 60s. Do some research online to find the best burial insurance for your needs.

Stay Healthy

There are some health issues we can’t foresee or prevent, but in many cases, there are ways you can make your health a priority and keep your body and mind in great shape, helping to prevent the need for long-term care or, perhaps, minimizing it. Eating right and getting daily exercise is a great start, but you can also stay active socially, keep your mind sharp by playing word games or puzzles on your smartphone, and make changes to your home to ensure that it’s safe (removing trip hazards such as throw rugs, installing a grab bar or shower seat in the bathroom, etc.).

Think About Downsizing

Downsizing is a big move, especially if you’ve lived in the same home for many years. This process generally includes minimizing your belongings, which means you’ll have to make hard decisions about what to take to your new home. However, downsizing can have many benefits, including the ability to save money each month due to having fewer expenses. Take a look at your monthly finances to see if downsizing would make sense for you.

Planning ahead for your future needs is a complicated process that involves a lot of guesswork, and it can become overwhelming pretty quickly if you don’t have a good plan in place ahead of time. Talk to your close loved ones for their input to get an idea of what the best moves will be over the next few years, and remember to take care of yourself at the same time.