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Long Term Care Insurance

Since their levels of care were so different (my mother needed most things done for her), there weren’t any facilities that would allow them to be together. They’d be across the street from each other in different wings of the home. After fifty-five years of marriage, my parents were adamant about wanting to be together in their own home, in their own bed, where they could continue to cuddle and kiss–as they so frequently did. And, since my father was so “difficult” with a terrible temper and quite a long record of manipulative disruptive behaviors, the homes didn’t want to deal with him anyway.

It was challenging, but I committed to keeping my parents in their own home and attending Adult Day Health Care five days a week. Then, with the help of two marvelous caregivers, after four more years of loving each other–they passed, just a few months apart. Even though caring for every aspect of my parents’ last years was the hardest thing I have ever done–I am proud to say I gave them the best end-of-life I possibly could.

Had I only known to insist that we buy Long-Term Care Insurance for them prior to their illnesses–their years of in-home care could have been paid for, and I could have saved myself so much heartache, not to mention a small fortune. I encourage you to learn from my mistake and look into LTC insurance long before you need it–for your loved ones as well as yourself. Like fire insurance, hopefully, you’ll never have to use it.

THREE WAYS TO PAY FOR LONG-TERM CARE

1. Pay for in-home caregivers and assisted living/nursing homes out of pocket. This is expensive and can often deplete a family’s life savings.

2. Meet a very specific poverty level and qualify for government assistance through the Medicaid program. Unfortunately, options are limited, only paying for nursing homes that accept Medicaid.

3. Buy a Comprehensive Long-Term Care Insurance policy. This protects your family’s assets from the rising costs of caring for someone who needs full time care. An employer might pay the tax-deductible premiums. Consider buying it at a younger age, when more affordable and accessible. It must be bought before a major illness strikes. Medicare and regular health insurance does not pay for long-term care. The average cost for a person who needs long-term care is $40-$70,000 annually, depending on where you live, plus the cost to the family caregiver who may have to leave their job.