During my time working with families to identify options around senior living, one specific worry that seemed to come up over and over again…a question really, “will we outlive our resources?” I found that many families had done extensive planning, but for only two – three years of senior living only. But we find that many seniors are still going strong in their 7th, 8th or 9th year in their communities and are now faced with finding an answer to a very daunting question, “what happens when the money is all gone?”
According to a 2011 article by the US Census Bureau, “The nation’s 90-and-older population nearly tripled over the past three decades, reaching 1.9 million in 2010, according to a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau and supported by the National Institute on Aging. Over the next four decades, this population is projected to more than quadruple.”
The article goes on to say, “The majority of people 90 and older report having one or more disabilities, living alone or in a nursing home and graduating from high school. People in this age group also are more likely to be women and to have higher widowhood, poverty and disability rates than people just under this age cutoff.
These are sobering realities for seniors, and their families, when making decisions to move to a senior living community. Some seniors or their families might even delay a needed move to conserve funds. While this initially might seem like a good idea, what can sometimes happen is that they are staying in a situation that’s putting their safety at risk. They’ll end up in senior living due to an accident, and then the cost will be higher because the needs are greater.
So, what are ways seniors and their loved ones can be more prepared when the time comes to move to senior living?
- Find a financial advisor or planner that you trust and start looking at what assets might be available for this move. Often times even a small amount of preparation can put you in a better place when the time comes. Knowledge is power! Getting a good handle on finances can help in the long run.
- Start touring communities now. Here at Choice Connections, I work with families who aren’t ready to move in to Senior living right now, but I encourage them to tour early. This helps formulate a plan and a general idea of the budget needed for their community of choice. Some communities might even have a wait- list, so this gives you an opportunity to get on the wait-list before it’s too late.
- Speak to an elder law attorney. Once again, knowledge is power, and an elder law attorney can provide guidance and advice regarding selecting powers of attorney, writing a will, setting up a trust or perhaps even speaking about an application for Medicaid services.
- Look into alternative funding such as long term care insurance policies, reverse mortgages or the Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit.
Funding senior living can come at a high cost, but knowing what your options are in advance is always the best choice. If you aren’t sure where to begin, seek advice from your peers or contact Choice Connections to set up an appointment.