Older Americans who want to stay in their homes as they age will likely need help at some point. Because as we age, the simple, day-to-day tasks we take for granted often become very difficult. Many older Americans rely on family members for this kind of important, non-medical care. That’s not an option for everyone, for a number of different reasons, so some seniors look for help from third-party caregivers or caregiving agencies. Unfortunately Medicare, which provides medical insurance for most older Americans, doesn’t cover non-medical care. So most of these seniors are forced to pay for care as an out-of-pocket expense.
While in-home care is often less expensive that assisted living or nursing homes, the costs can still add up quickly. So how can seniors pay for the care they need while still staying in the home they love?
Long Term Care Insurance
As with most things in life, planning ahead pays off. Many long term care insurance plans will pay for the cost of non-medical in-home care. But here’s the trick. The longer you wait to purchase your policy, the more expensive it will be. If you’re in your mid to late 50’s, the cost of long term care insurance will probably pencil out. But if you wait until your 60’s or later, you might have missed your window. If you’re considering purchasing your own policy, take your time to compare a policy’s costs and benefits because you’ll likely be paying these premiums for decades.
Reverse mortgages were originally designed by the government to help seniors stay in their homes until the end of their lives. They work by turning the equity in a senior’s home into cash either through a lump sum or regular monthly payments. Unlike a traditional home loan where a borrower takes on a set debt amount, reverse mortgages increase over time. Seniors are allowed to live in their home until they die, even if the amount they owe becomes greater than the home’s value. But once the house is sold, or the borrower passes away, the loan must be repaid.
These financial instruments have become somewhat controversial over the last few years because of some unscrupulous lenders. And reverse mortgage are often the subject of elder abuse scams. But when done carefully, this tool can tap existing assets and turn them into important supplements to retirement income.
Many times, older Americans have life insurance policies they no longer need. If so, they can often sell those policies back to the issuing agency for a percentage of their total value. And even if the issuing agency won’t buy back the policy, there are other companies that will. The exact payoff amount will depend on a number of factors, but this is often an asset many seniors have but overlook.
But First, Do Your Research
Of course before taking any of these steps, seniors should research what the true cost of in-home care will be. This will likely depend on their location and the amount and kind of care they require. If you live in Phoenix, Generations Home Care offers affordable in-home care to seniors throughout the metro area. If you’d like more information, call us at 602-595-HOME(4663) or fill out our contact form. In most cases, we can provide a quick quote over the phone.
Paying for in-home care might seem like an extravagancy at first. But there’s just no substitute for staying in your own home. And with a little research, you might find out it’s more affordable than you think.