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‘Carpe diem’ is a phrase that you’ve no doubt heard before. Your grandchildren might be announcing instead that ‘YOLO – you only live once’. The message is simple – live each day as though it’s your last, you never know what’s around the corner. According to those phrases, saving for old age might be a waste of money. We never know if we’ll make it to retirement, or how far into our retirement years we’ll get. Aren’t there more important things to be spending our money on than our old age care? Should we be saving at all?
What are your future prospects?
As much as you might convince yourself that you never know what lies ahead, the reality is that you can assume that you’ll live to see old age. Thanks to medical advances, more and more people are living full and healthy lives past an age that would previously have been considered to be ‘old’. After those healthy years, in many cases, come the not-so-healthy years when medical costs and care costs increase.
If you’re trying to convince yourself that saving isn’t worthwhile because you might not ever be ‘old’, bear in mind that by 2030 it is expected that 1 person out of 5 in the U.S. will be 65 or over.
Should you save for old age?
Your future is unknown. A majority of people pay a small fortune in costs for their care when they reach old age. The amount of support available could increase by the time you’re there, or it could dramatically decrease. It is far better to assume the latter and be prepared for every eventuality than to assume that you’ll have financial support and then discover later on that you don’t.
As you age, you may become less able to earn money and may be less capable of making your own decisions. If you don’t prepare in advance, then the eventual burden of your old age care will fall to your loved ones. By saving for old age, you are able to ensure that you get the best place to live, the best support and the best medical treatment, without impacting on the finances and livelihoods of younger family members.
Ecuva is an online health and wellness store where customers can purchase daily living aids, disability aids and items that can make old age easier, more comfortable and more independent.
Depending on what long-term care option your loved one chooses, prices can vary. Many families may be surprised to find out that Medicare and private health insurance policies don’t typically cover the cost of care. Learn how you can pay for long-term care by reading on!
1. Long-Term Care Insurance
In addition to your health insurance, families can purchase an additional long-term care insurance policy for their loved one. Policies generally cover most services offered by a home care agency, nursing home, or assisted living facility. It’s best to purchase a long-term care insurance policy when your loved one is in good health as they may not qualify if there are any pre-existing conditions.
2. Life Insurance
If your loved one already has life insurance, they may be able to add a long-term care rider to their policy. An accelerated death benefit allows your loved one to get a tax-free advance on their policy while they are still alive to pay for the cost of care. If your loved one doesn’t require long-term care, their beneficiaries receive a tax-free benefit as long as the policy is in effect.
3. Reverse Mortgage
A reverse mortgage allows the homeowner to draw on their home’s equity to pay for long-term care. Your loved one can receive a lump sum or monthly payment and even open up a new line of credit. In the event of their death, heirs are left with the remainder of the home equity after paying off the amount owed. There are both pros and cons of having a reverse mortgage.
An immediate annuity and deferred long-term annuity can usually be purchased through your loved one’s insurance company. A single premium payment for an immediate annuity means they receive a specified amount of monthly income for a designated period of time. With a deferred long term annuity, they will have two sources of funding—one fund that is specifically for long-term care and another fund to use however they would like.
For seniors who don’t have an insurance policy or qualify for Medicaid, they must pay out-of-pocket. Planning for long-term care way before it’s needed can prevent stress and financial burden. This can benefit those who don’t want to pay high insurance premiums. However, only 1 in 4 adults over the age of 45 are actually prepared for the cost of care.
About the Author: Peter Kang is a writer for eCaregivers. He is inspired by his caregiver experience with his late grandfather and role model, a Korean War veteran, to help families find affordable care for their loved ones. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter.
Getting older doesn’t have to mean losing your independence. If you’re looking forward to spending your golden years at home, you can make the experience safer and more comfortable with these life hacks.
1. Try Meal Prep
It can become harder to lead an active lifestyle, and still, pay time and attention to cooking at eating healthy. You may choose to arrange help in the kitchen or check out some quick and easy recipes for seniors. Cooking groups are another great way to meal prep, and can also help you build a network.
2. Update Home Security
There are plenty of reasons to consider home security. In addition to a new system, get familiar with your community. Arrange for friends, family members, or neighbors to pick up any mail, or keep an eye on your home when you’re not there.
Motion activated lights can also discourage intruders. Connecting a smartphone to your home security can make life more accessible. Try wireless doorbells, which will allow you to see, hear and talk to whoever is at the door.
3. Keep Your Contacts List Updated
Any senior living alone should keep an up-to-date list of emergency contacts and medical needs. Keep it in one place and up-to-date. Set up your smartphone so it takes simple voice commands. This way you can contact someone quickly when you can’t reach your phone.
4. Keep Your Home In Good Shape
Scheduling regular maintenance means you’ll spot any tears in carpets, loose fixtures, or anything else that may cause accidents. Ensure that you have regular maintenance done on the home. Setting alerts can help you keep your home updates on a schedule.
5. Smart Apps & Wearable Technology
We’ve already mentioned setting alarms to keep your home in good shape. But what about you? There are simple assistant apps that can help you stay healthy. For instance, an app to remind you to take your medicine, to drink water, or work out.
Apart from apps you install on your phone or tablet, there are health trackers that will ensure your health stays, well, on track. Fitness trackers can measure your heart rate and activity level. Medical alert accessories contain your health information, which can be important in emergencies.
There are many changes that make living independently complicated for seniors. But complicated doesn’t have to mean difficult. Try these tips and make living alone easier on yourself.