Freelance Contribution by Karen Weeks
Planning for your long-term care needs can be tricky since no one can see into the future. Yet, that’s exactly what you must do in order to anticipate what the next five or 10 years will bring when it comes to your health and mobility. Not only that, but you also have to think about what the costs will be and how you’ll take care of them. Some of the things you’ll need to consider include what kind of home modifications you’ll need to make and whether they are feasible. If not, is downsizing an option you can explore?
It’s important to think about your current needs and the needs of your spouse or partner. Are there issues occurring now that could become a problem down the line? Do you have a family history of illness or conditions that could impact your ability to take care of yourself after retirement? Thinking about these things, as well as how you’ll finance your care, will help you avoid having to make hard decisions down the road.
Keep reading for some tips on how to plan for your future needs.
How to Plan
Planning for the future can be stressful, so start with what you know. Do you or your loved one have a family history of illness that could affect you in the future? Are there current health conditions that could worsen with time? What type of lifestyle do you lead now, and are there any changes you could make that will prevent injuries or health issues? For instance, if you smoke, it’s time to seriously think about quitting. Talk to your doctor about any potential health issues that may pop up due to your age, sex, or lifestyle and make adjustments accordingly, as these can have a huge effect on your future health needs.
Think about aging in place; what sort of changes will your home need to remain safe for you? There are some options that don’t include downsizing and won’t break your budget, such as installing railings on both sides of the stairs, using automatic night lights, and removing any loose carpeting or rugs that could become trip hazards. You can also install a grab bar in the shower, non-slip rubber mats in the bathroom and kitchen, and extra lighting in dark spaces, such as closets. These small senior-friendly updates can save you money when it comes to long-term care costs and help you live in your own home longer.
How to Save
Thinking about the financial end of things will help ease your mind and will give you an idea of where your budget needs to be for making modifications and finding long-term care. As we grow older, our medical needs change, and the costs often increase as a result. Medicare doesn’t pay for everything, so it’s important to look for supplemental coverage that will help you cover the cost of copayments, deductibles, and Medicare Part A and Part B. It will also help you with any other out-of-pocket costs you encounter. Also, it might be worthwhile to look into a health savings account (HSA), and any deposits into this account are not subject to federal income tax.
If you aren’t yet retired but will be soon, take a look at your income and make a budget. You’ll want to make sure that you and your loved one will have a sustainable source of income no matter what sort of care you need down the road.
Planning for long-term care and aging in place is never easy, but doing so will give you peace of mind that you and your spouse or partner will be well taken care of. Take a look at your health needs and think about where they will be a few years from now; with a good plan, you can make sure that there will be no issues should you need long-term care.