Your How-To Guide for Budgeting for Senior Care
If each report of rising healthcare costs feels a bit like watching your retirement savings account take another plunge, you’re not alone. More than 70% of New Jersey residents believe the cost of healthcare is rising faster than their income and worry they may not be able to cover the deductibles for their care if they get sick or injured.
Even if you’re in good health now, current pricing trends make it more important than ever to think about the future and begin budgeting for senior care. While you may not have any conditions right now that signal a need for additional care, chances are good that you’ll need more support at some point in the future. A savvy approach to budgeting for senior care involves understanding and planning for how you’ll access that care when the time comes.
Get familiar with the various care options.
One of the first steps in budgeting for senior care is understanding the different kinds of care you may eventually need. The term “nursing home” is used fairly universally, but there are actually several different types of care and communities that provide senior care. The continuum of care progresses from very little support to 24-hour specialized care.
- An independent living community is a type of senior living community that typically provides little ongoing health care for residents but focuses more on lifestyle benefits that are attractive to retirees.
- Assisted living residents receive some assistance with activities of daily living like bathing, taking medication, and getting around. (Some of these personal care services can be provided in the home, if your home environment is safe enough and you can afford the hourly fees.)
- Skilled nursing residents receive ongoing care for conditions that require ongoing treatment and management.
- Rehabilitation residents get help regaining strength and function after a surgery, hospitalization, or injury.
- Memory care communities focus on the unique needs of residents experiencing Alzheimer’s and other dementia symptoms.
Calculate costs in your area.
While it’s virtually impossible to know exactly which level of care you may ultimately need, you can explore the costs for various potential scenarios. Using data collected in an annual national survey, Genworth Financial provides a cost calculator that can be a valuable resource in budgeting for senior care. After pinpointing your location, you’ll be able to select criteria to help predict the cost of long-term care, like how often you expect to receive care and what kind of care you might need (in-home, community, assisted living or nursing home/skilled nursing). You’ll be able to input different years to see how costs are expected to rise over time.
Consider eliminating unknown variables.
One way to eliminate the guesswork of budgeting for senior care is moving to a Life Plan Community. You gain peace of mind knowing you can access a full continuum of care if your health needs change, and there are several financial benefits. A single, predictable monthly service fee covers all of your expenses, including your residence, taxes, and utilities, as well as housekeeping, interior and exterior maintenance, and access to robust social, fitness, and wellness programming. Some Life Plan Community contracts allow you to lock in rates on future health care, and your monthly service fees and entrance fee may qualify for tax benefits as prepaid medical expenses.
Explore the advantages of acting sooner than later.
If you’re not ready to make a move, you may still be able to leverage some of the financial benefits of a Life Plan Community. As a Springpoint Choice member, you can keep living at home and protect your financial assets while enjoying access to our community amenities and programming. If you need additional support, your personal care navigator will help you access it, whether it’s at home or within one of our nearby communities—without the costly waiting period many long-term care policies require. Contact us to explore whether this membership-based program is right for you.