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How long-term care insurance can help you age at home

How long-term care insurance can help you age at home
Long-term care insurance isn’t just for people who plan to move to an assisted living community; it can help you age at home too. 

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It’s no secret that most people prefer to stay in their own homes as long as possible as they age. Of course, there’s a place for assisted living communities and nursing homes in society, but if you’re like most, you may be planning to try and avoid them. Then again, aging in place can come with a hefty price tag. 

The Genworth Cost of Care Survey estimates that in 2024, homemaker services cost about $5,604 per month, or about $65,004 annually, and if you need a home health aide, you can expect to pay around $67,504 per year. Moreover, those are this year’s estimated costs — and costs are expected to keep rising in the future. Those figures don’t account for other expenses associated with aging in place, either, like home renovations and meal preparation services.  

That’s where long-term care insurance can help. If you purchase the right policy, it could help cover the increased costs associated with aging in place, making it more feasible for you to stay in your home throughout your retirement. 

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How long-term care insurance can help you age at home

“Long-term care insurance plays a very important role in allowing individuals to age at home by providing financial support for necessary care services,” says Justin Stivers, financial advisor and founding attorney at Stivers Law, an estate planning firm in Coral Gables, Florida. “This type of insurance covers a range of services, including in-home care, which makes it possible for individuals to receive assistance with daily activities at their home without having to move to a long-term care facility.”

So, how exactly does long-term care insurance help you age at home? It depends on the plan you purchase, which is why it’s important to compare your options. Nonetheless, the best policies for those who plan on aging at home may help by covering the following expenses: 

The cost of home healthcare

Home healthcare can be one of the biggest challenges associated with aging in place. The care you need could cost tens of thousands of dollars per year to access, if and when you need it. But long-term care insurance can help. Depending on the policy you choose, your plan may cover some or all of your home healthcare costs

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The cost of family caregivers

You may plan to lean on your loved ones for your long-term care. However, your loved ones may need to earn a living wage. If you don’t have money to pay your family caregiver, they could be stuck covering your care in addition to a full-time job — and that’s another potential problem that long-term care insurance could be the solution to. 

Some long-term care insurance policies will pay your family caregivers. With these policies, your loved ones may be able to earn a living wage while providing your care. 

However, it’s important to pay close attention to your policy details. Some long-term care policies only cover formal caregiver expenses. If that’s the case for you, your provider will only pay for care if you hire a professional. If you plan on taking advantage of family care, make sure your policy covers the cost of informal caregivers. 

The cost of necessary renovations

Over time, you may develop conditions that cause issues with your home’s accessibility. For example, you may experience a lack of mobility — and if there are stairs leading to your front door, that could hinder access to your home. 

In this case, a long-term care insurance policy may pay for a ramp that leads to your front door. These policies may also cover costs associated with traction assistance, stair elevators, shower handle installations and more. 

Meal plan costs

At some point, you may find it difficult to prepare your daily meals. And, while there are meal plan services that will bring quality meals to your front door, they can be expensive. 

This is another way long-term care insurance can help you age in place, though. Many policies offer coverage for meal plans so you don’t have to worry about cooking. 

Additional wellness program costs

“It is becoming more common for long-term care insurance policies to include access to wellness programs and other aging-in-place support services – both as add-ons to existing policies or included within the benefits of new long-term care insurance products being developed,” says Andy Freedman, vice president of client experience and corporate marketing at Assured Allies, a firm that helps adults age successfully. 

“These wellness programs often provide access to health coaches who help develop and implement personalized plans to help policyholders maintain their independence,” says Freedman.

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The bottom line

“Ultimately, long-term care insurance contributes to a higher quality of life for individuals as they age, while also promoting their well-being and ability to live on their own terms within their own home,” says Stivers. So, if you plan to age at home and don’t have long-term care insurance, now may be the time to compare your options.