No one is guaranteed tomorrow, but regardless of your age or health, you should have a plan in place to ensure your needs are met in the future. Below are three tips on how to plan ahead for the costs associated with aging care.
Aging in place issues to consider
If you’re happy with your home and plan to stay put long term, you may be able to remain there, even if your physical and mental abilities begin to decline. Set yourself up for aging-in-place success by making a few minor home modifications now. This should include railings on either side of interior and exterior stairs, and removing loose carpeting and rugs from the home. Angie’s List offers more advice on how to ensure your home remains senior-friendly. If major modifications are out of the question, something as simple as adding a motion detector night light to your bedroom, bathroom, and hallway will go a long way toward keeping you safe.
Your needs will change with time, and even if you’re able to stay home, you may also find yourself facing obstacles when it comes to transportation and personal care. It may become necessary to rely on friends and family or paid caregivers to help you handle day-to-day actions, including taking your medication and getting dressed. Other potential obstacles that come with age are not being able to handle your financial and nutrition needs. A non-medical, at-home caregiver can cost up to $30 per hour which, depending on where you live, may be less cost-effective than moving into a senior care center. One benefit of living in a senior-oriented community or medical campus is that you’ll have access to a social network, which Elder Law of East Tennessee asserts is associated with greater health.
Despite your best efforts, it may become necessary to acquire a greater level of care than you can receive at home. Senior living options include assisted-living, long-term nursing care, and adult daycare. The latter of these will provide you with quality medical and nonmedical care during the day, but allow you to return home at night; this is a great option when you live with an adult child. You should be aware that Medicare won’t cover all of the costs associated with long-term care. If you’re considered a low-income individual, however, you may be eligible for Medicaid or other state-funded insurance that will. Veterans typically qualify for monthly living assistance payments in addition to their monthly pension.
What the future holds
You may be healthy and fully in control of your mind and body today, but that can change without warning. Even if you don’t have a known family history of disease, you may be genetically predisposed to illnesses that can inhibit your ability to remain independent. In 2017, the FDA approved genetic testing for Parkinson’s disease, late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and early-onset primary dystonia. While not guaranteed to be 100-percent accurate, a simple and inexpensive test will let you know if you are predisposed to these or other common major concerns.
Lifestyle is also a factor that influences the probability of whether or not you will need long-term care. Kathleen Davis, FNP, explains in a recent physician-reviewed article posted on Medical News Today’s website that drinking alcohol can have major effects on your health in the future. Long-term alcohol misuse can lead to liver disease and peripheral neuropathy. This simply underscores the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle today, tomorrow, and in the future.
About Harry Cline- Guest Author on Caregiver Support Service’s Blog
Harry Cline is creator of NewCaregiver.organd author of the upcoming book, The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers. As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.