Home Health Care in San Francisco Emphasizes the Importance of Long-Term Care Planning
With October being Long-Term Care Planning Month and Organize Your Medical Information Month, we want to emphasize how critical it is to look ahead when planning for home health care finances in San Francisco. Many of us don’t hesitate to sock money away for retirement, vacations and college, but we often don’t think about the stark reality of the need for long-term care. Forbes points out that 70% of people over the age of 65 will need some long-term care services during their lifetime. Not all of this care will be in an institutional setting, such as a retirement home; often times, older adults are still quite independent and can remain in their homes with help. Other times, this help could extends for years or even decades, which doesn’t come cheap.
There are about 35 million people in the United States age 65 or older, or 13 percent of the total population, says ABC News. Contrast that with 1900, when the number of older Americans was only 3.1 million. The life expectancy today is about 80 years old. Projections for 2030 say that America’s older population will double by 2030, reaching 70 million. Retirement age is still about 65, although many are choosing to work beyond that into their 70s. Even the most robust retirement savings account can only last so long, and with many people living two decades or more past retirement, that money is running out more quickly.
Home Health Care Costs
However, retirement savings isn’t necessarily for long-term medical care. Many of us need that retirement money to live on. Most people have a little nest egg saved, augmented by Social Security or Medicare. Rarely do we think about budgeting for long-term care costs. In fact, Forbes says that the average American underestimates the cost of in-home long-term care by 50%, with four out of five adults underestimating the costs of home health care in general. Home health care is the most popular option when it comes to long-term care. Most people prefer to stay in their homes and have nurses and aides visit them for assistance.
A recent Genworth Cost of Care Study revealed that a third of Americans think home health care expenses total less than $400 a month; in reality, the national median rate is nine times that number at about $3,861 per month for an in-home aide or $3,813 per month for homemaker care, assuming 44 hours a week of home care. That’s about $45,000 a year — for ONE year. Let’s say you live another 10 years — that’s $450,000. If you live another 20, that’s $900,000. That’s just for home health care. You still need money to live on, pay for home expenses, bills, entertainment, insurance, groceries, etc.
Medicare will cover long-term care for a short while and under specific circumstances. Yes, Medicaid does pay for long-term care; however, you have to meet low income and state eligibility requirements.
Even the strongest retirement plans can go off the rails as we realize that collectively, we are all living much longer than we used to. Not only that, we’re sicker too. Translation? Higher healthcare costs as our physical and cognitive abilities decline. So, all that cash you set aside for traveling in retirement may be sifting through your fingers as you face high long-term care costs.
If you are the adult child of an aging parent facing these financial challenges, the prospect can seem overwhelming. If your parents can’t afford their home health care, how will YOU? After all, you have your own family and long-term care to think about. Meanwhile, you are watching your parents’ savings accounts draining but are powerless to stop it. You seem stuck between a rock and a hard place. There’s no doubt your loved one needs the care they’re receiving; however, you may wonder how you can provide sustained daily assistance for their medical needs. Here are some tips:
- Get organized and stay that way: Now is as good a time as any — remember, it’s Organize Your Medical Information Month. Do your part to locate, understand and store important medical information so you can become a more informed participant in your own medical care and that of your parents, says Everyday Health. This will give you more time to make informed decisions based on your priorities rather than rushing into something as serious as long-term care.
- Look into long-term care insurance. Maximize your benefits by choosing a plan that fits your unique needs.
- Revisit your retirement portfolio on a regular basis to ensure it is on track with your long-term needs. Make sure your plan is optimized not only for typical retirement costs but for home health care costs as well. Keep the conversation going with your financial advisor.
- Look into Medicare and Medicaid so you know exactly what they will cover, how much, and for how long. Don’t blindly assume you will be taken care of by those systems.
- Visit the doctor regularly and stay on top of your health. The healthier you are, the fewer services you will require as you age.
Contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice in San Francisco
Pathways Home Health and Hospice offers a variety of home health care services, so please call us at 888-755-7855 to learn more about how we can help you and your family plan ahead in San Francisco.