Paying For Long Term Elder Care Costs

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by Alex Jensen

As we age, our body and minds start to break down. For some, the change is minor and we don't really have too many problems with day to day life. For others, however, the changes can be severe and paying for the care needed can be a financial nightmare.

You and your wife are happily married. You've raised the kids and sent them off into their adult lives. You've also put away $500,000 in retirement accounts and have another $150,000 in equity in your home. A week later, your spouse is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease, a form of dementia. Your spouse goes down hill quickly, but you are able to care for them for five years. It becomes too much for you in the end and you look for professional help only to find out you can only afford five years or so of care. Now what?

This nightmare plays out over and over for many families. Long term care is just not a subject that gets anywhere near the attention it should. Medical care these days is frighteningly expensive. Needing constant medical care is far more expensive than even the massively rich can afford. For the rest of us, it is just a financially and emotionally crippling event.

What about health insurance? Unfortunately, health insurance usually will not pay for long term care needs. It is designed to deal with simply health needs, while long term care tends to have a strong element of daily care for just practical things. Government programs are not much better. Most will only provide care after your assets are wiped out.

The best option for dealing with these costs these days is long term care insurance. This insurance covers things such as care and services related to daily activities such as bathing, cooking, cleaning and dressing. It also covers more comprehensive costs such as assisted living facilities, nursing homes and independent nursing care. In short, we are talking about the daily care a person needs as they age or become incapacitated. If you have any doubts about how valuable this is, just ask a person who has a family member with Alzheimer's or some other type of dementia. It cannot be understated.

They say insurance is designed to cover you for those disastrous days that pop up every so often. Ah, but what if the "day" is much longer? Long term care insurance is designed to make sure you are ready for the expensive care that can become necessary with aging.

Alex Jensen is with OrangeCountyCarePlacement.com - find an assisted living community in Southern California for seniors using our free placement service.

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