When you think about your retirement years, the good times are going to come to mind. If you take the right steps along the way, you can build a nest egg and have the opportunity to cross things off your bucket list.
These years are often referred to as the golden years, but you also have to consider the twilight years that will inevitably follow. There are some considerable expenses looming, and you should brace yourself for these potential costs in advance.
A very significant percentage of senior citizens ultimately require help with their day-to-day needs. Many of them will reside in assisted-living communities or nursing homes.
However, nursing homes are not the only solution. In many instances, a senior citizen who needs help with his or her activities of daily living can get that help at home. This arrangement would be preferable for many people for a number of different reasons.
As you age, you may lose loved ones along the way, and your working years are behind you. These changes can be disconcerting, but the comfort that you feel within your own home can provide much-needed continuity. You are surrounded by memories, and you feel a warm sense of familiarity.
Family members, friends, and neighbors can often provide the level of care that is required when it is not too significant. Having contact with loved ones on a frequent basis can be another source of comfort for a senior citizen.
Having people that you know coming to provide you with the assistance that you need can be ideal, but it is not always possible. Your family members may not have the time, and the level of care that you need could exceed the skill level of the people around you.
Under these circumstances, you could potentially engage the services of an in-home caregiver. There are services that provide different levels of care. If you just need basic homemaker services that are not medical in nature, you could have a paid homemaker come into your home to take care of things like cleaning and cooking.
We practice law in Hartford, Connecticut. According to a 2015 study, the average annual charge for homemaker services in our area was $43,472. In addition to homemakers, there are also home health aides that can provide health care services on a day-to-day basis. As you may imagine, this level of assistance is a bit more expensive. Last year, the average annual charge for a home health aide was just under $50,000.
These are some pretty big numbers, but if you can remain in your home, you will be saving a great deal of money. Nursing homes are exorbitantly expensive. In Hartford, the average annual charge for a private room in a nursing home was over $160,000 last year. For a one-bedroom unit in an assisted living community, you are looking at an average annual charge of $66,900.
Medicare does not pay for living assistance of any kind. It will pay for up to 100 days of convalescent care after an injury or illness, but it does not help with custodial care costs. Medicaid does pay for long-term care, but there are strict income and asset limits that govern eligibility, because Medicaid is a need-based program.
Many people who require full-time residence in an assisted living community or nursing home do take steps that lead to Medicaid eligibility. However, there is another government program that is funded by Medicaid that has less stringent requirements when it comes to income and assets. This program is called the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) “waiver” program.
If you can get the help that you need in your own home from a paid in-home caregiver, you may be able to qualify for this waiver program. This is something that you should certainly discuss with your elder law attorney when you are devising a plan for aging.
We would like to emphasize the fact that long-term care is something that most elders will require. The figure is 70 percent according to a government agency. It is important to think in a pragmatic, practical manner when it comes to living assistance and the costs that go along with it.
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