How much does it cost to age?

Family hands holding a piggy bank with coins on a balance sheet.

Educate Yourself About Senior Living Costs

It’s understandable that in living life to the fullest, we put off thinking about our needs as we age. Most of us believe there will be plenty of time later to plan for senior living. The reality is that we need to take off our rose-colored glasses, grab a pencil and paper, and start crunching numbers as soon as possible. Start the process by understanding the cost of long-term care.

How much can I afford?

According to Genworth Financial, the 2018 median cost to reside in a Tucson senior community with assisted living care was $4,044 per month. What’s more, median costs for home health care ranged from $4,576 to $4,671, with nursing home care costing between $6,388 and $8,213.

Here are some of the important things to explore when selecting an assisted living care facility:

  • Will I pay a flat monthly fee?
  • Will my care costs increase if I require additional short-term or long-term care?
  • How are my evolving care costs determined?
  • Will there be cost of living increases and how are they calculated?
  • If I run out of money, are Medicaid contracts available?

Know what Medicare will cover.

Unfortunately, most of us are either misinformed or misunderstand the limits of Medicare benefits. For instance, many Americans believe that Medicare will pay for in-home and/or long-term care if you have limited income. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

It is essential to know and understand your Medicare coverage. The website medicare.gov does a great job of explaining senior care benefits.

Can I protect my retirement assets?

 In planning ahead, consider long-term insurance (LTC). This is an especially smart move for couples with higher retirement incomes and assets. The insurance maintains the healthy spouse’s standard of living if the one spouse requires costly care at home or in a nursing home. Be aware that for singles, especially women, this type of insurance may be expensive. Premiums can be as much as 40 percent higher. You can learn more about the pros and cons of LTC at AARP.

What about long-term care benefits for veterans?

 Wartime veterans and their surviving spouse, 65 and older, may be entitled to a tax-free benefit called Aid and Attendance through the Department of Veteran Affairs. The benefit is designed to provide financial aid to help offset the cost of long-term care for those who need assistance with the daily activities of living such as bathing, dressing, eating, toileting and transferring.

Does Arizona offer any type of Eldercare support?

Arizona administers a Medicaid program called the Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS). It is designed to help fixed-income seniors and disabled individuals afford senior care after their savings are exhausted. The program can also connect individuals to resources available through national Medicaid services. The program requires an application and can take several months for approval.

Start planning now.

These are just a few of the things to consider when planning ahead for your senior living needs. The important takeaway is to start sooner rather than later. Your planning efforts will help you find senior living arrangements that fit your pocketbook, as well as your lifestyle wants and needs.

 

 

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