As you plan for events in your life, you plan ahead. You plan for your first home, graduation of your children and many other big steps in your life. However, have you given much thought to what you will do when you retire? How will you plan where to live, or what kind of care you need or want? A recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs study shows a majority of Americans age 40 and older don’t prepare for long-term care they may need later in life. In fact, many don’t think about it at all.
Many people agree that preparing for long-term care is important, but many are not taking any steps to do so. You should pay attention to the following 4 reasons long-term care planning is important and the steps you should take before you need it.
1. It is an Investment for the Future
Like anything you plan, the earlier you start the more options you have, and long-term care is no different. The best place to start is how much you should save to finance the long-term care plan that works best for you. By making care decisions while you’re still healthy and working, you will have time to save.
Remember, Medicare covers only 100 days of long-term care with copay before you have to dip into your own bank account. If you have already retired, it’s never too late to create a plan for long-term care you may need in the future.
2. Relax with Peace of Mind
If you plan ahead, you can relax with peace of mind, knowing that you've made provisions for your future long-term care needs. More than half of American adults over age 40 surveyed in the study said they had a large concern about losing their independence, and 44 percent are worried about paying for the care or help they may need as they age. By having a plan, you can eliminate your stress and feel secure that you have covered your care.
3. Let Others Know Your Healthcare Wishes
By taking time to develop a long-term care plan, you empower yourself to make decisions as you want regarding your living and care options for thefuture. Only 41 percent of the older adults surveyed have discussed their preferences for long-term care with their families. You can visit long-term care providers to find where you might be most comfortable, and you can also look into specialized providers—like communities that cater to veterans or offer green living plans—based on your lifestyle preferences.
4. Ease the Tension for your Family
Developing a plan takes the pressure off your family to make important decisions about your health and living arrangements. According to this study, more than 60 percent of adults surveyed said they were at least moderately concerned about being a burden to their families. This concern should not prevent you from talking and planning with your family about your future healthcare and long-term living needs. Having a plan can give your family as much security and peace of mind as it gives you.