All too often, the move to long-term care (LTC) is made in response to a crisis. Planning for long-term care arrangements can often take a back seat to more urgent needs like mortgage payments, college savings and early retirement. The family is caught off guard and they’re unprepared for this major life change.

Consider a loved one turning 65 today. They face nearly 70% chance of needing extended long term care services during their remaining years. The costs of care can vary depending on your location and the level of care needed. Without advance planning, the reality of covering this expense can potentially be financially dev- astating for a family. How can seniors and their families do a better job of looking ahead and making the move less reactive and stressful?

One day of room and board in a private room in a nursing home can cost $283 or upwards of $8,517 a month. And for full-time home care with a home health aide who assists in the basics of self-care, an individual can expect to pay close to double that of a nursing home on a monthly basis. Neither employer-based medical in- surance nor Medicare will pay for these extended peri- ods of care.

How does one afford long term care?

Assisted living is a step between living at home and living in a nursing home. It blends health monitoring and help with daily activities while providing as much independence as possible. Although assisted living is often paid for out-of-pocket, remember it is an investment in you or your loved one’s health, safety and well-being. Overall, assisted living is much more afford- able than a nursing home.

Long-term care insurance can be a means to off- set the financial burden when the time comes for an individual who needs extended care. A long-term care insurance policy covers everything from the basics – bathing and dressing – to skilled-care from therapists and nurses for months or even years.

The daily benefit can be used for in-home care, assisted living, adult daycare, respite care, hospice care, nursing home care, memory care for people with dementia and home modifications to accommodate disabilities. Contact several insurance providers before purchasing a policy and compare benefits, care options, coverage limits and premiums. Different policies may offer the same coverage and benefits but may vary drastically on price. Long-term care insurance has its pros and cons, but when you plan right, it can be exactly what you or your loved one needs later in life.

In closing, having a plan in place does not mean making a shift right away. It is about considering op- tions and knowing what you will need. It is about plan- ning for your own or your loved one’s future happiness and well-being. Plan ahead, so that you don’t find your- self saying “I wish I’d done this sooner.”

For more information and to schedule a personal tour of Metairie’s newest residential assisted living home, call 504-252-2640 or email us at