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Preparing Your Safety Net: Planning, Paying for Long-Term Care

Updated: Jun 16


It’s an unfortunate part of human nature that people delay taking action that plays to their advantage. There’s ample evidence that most people neglect saving for long-term care, either because they simply choose to use the money in other ways or because they believe Medicare will provide what they need. That is one of the most unfortunate misunderstandings when aiming to save for care.

Though it’s an important asset for a large number of American seniors, Medicare is of little use in covering the costs associated with long-term care. Consequently, making your own arrangements and knowing your options have become crucial because if you end up needing long-term care, there may be no family members around to provide personal or financial support. From Parkinson Association of Alabama, here are some tips about planning and paying for long-term care.


Planning—do plenty of research

There are many options available these days for financing long-term care, and it’s important to be familiar with as many as possible. Start by learning about home-based health services, adult day cares, and assisted and independent living facilities in your area.

You can learn quite a bit by searching online for care facilities in the Birmingham area. This will arm you with valuable information about services and associated costs you can use to be prepared should long-term care become necessary for you or a loved one. Bear in mind that Medicaid will cover long-term care for low-income individuals, but if you do not qualify, you’ll need to have some backup plan in place.

If you or a loved one has a diagnosed condition, such as Parkinson’s disease, it’s a good idea to prepare a care path. This will include adaptations you can make at home, as well as plans for when home care is no longer viable. Making plans early will save you from difficult decisions later on.


Paying—Private Options

Many people who lack other options turn to long-term care insurance, but it’s often too late for it to do them much good. The cost goes up considerably the older you get—most financial advisers recommend purchasing a policy in your 50s, before retirement, and locking in an affordable rate.

According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the average yearly cost of long-term care insurance is about $2,700, though the younger you are when you begin a policy, the better your chances of being able to afford one. In any event, long-term care insurance is beyond the means of a great many Americans, which means it’s probably necessary to get creative about planning and paying for care.

If you have a life insurance policy, it can be a powerful financial asset in many ways. Not only does it provide a financial safety net for your loved ones, but it can also be used to generate revenue you can use to help pay for long-term care if your children are financially independent. You can obtain a loan using your life insurance policy, in which the cash value is used as collateral. The money can be used to defray the cost of medical expenses or other needs; however, remember that such a loan will reduce the death benefit value of your policy.

Another way you could pay for the costs of long-term care is by selling your home. You could downsize now or choose to sell it once you move into senior living. Carefully research home values and trends in your area to get an idea how much you can earn from selling your home.


Medicare Supplements —A supplemental health insurance plan can help you pay for medical costs over and above minimal medical coverage (i.e., what Medicare will cover). It can help cover co-pays and deductibles not provided for in basic health insurance plans. Supplemental insurance can help

with dental, vision, and long-term or critical illness care. It’s a useful option considering the ever-increasing cost of healthcare services, but you should take into account your health risk factors and the amount of insurance you’re able to afford when considering a supplemental policy.


Preparing and planning for long-term care can be a complicated and convoluted process. The more you understand about your options, the better prepared you’ll be to cover expenses should the need arise. Consider consulting with a financial advisor so you’re in full possession of the facts and can put a long-term plan in action.


Since its founding in 1978, the Parkinson Association of Alabama (PAA) has been dedicated to one mission: improving the quality of life for patients, caregivers, and families affected by Parkinson’s disease in the state of Alabama.


PAA represents all of those affected by Parkinson’s disease throughout the state of Alabama, regardless of their location. Our Board of Directors remains up to date on the latest legislative and research information to provide knowledge and understanding for everyone affected by Parkinson’s disease. Whatever you’re going through, we are here to support you.


For more information, please visit our website or explore these links for resources to aid in searching for care!

long-term care

Parkinson Association of Alabama

adult day cares

valuable information

Medicaid

make at home

about $2,700

obtain a loan

Supplemental insurance

financial advisor

Parkinson Association of Alabama

All credit for the article goes to Claire Wentz of caringfromafar.com.