If you recently paid a visit to an aging parent’s home, you may have been surprised by the changes in their health. Seniors often hide their struggles from family for fear of being a burden or out of concern that loved ones might try to convince them to move to a senior community.
Recognizing an older loved one needs help can leave many family members uncertain about what to do next. It also leaves them worrying about how much senior care will cost and how they will pay for it. Families are often surprised to learn that Medicare doesn’t cover the expenses associated with private in-home care or assisted living communities.
Once families do begin exploring senior care options, they often experience “sticker shock” over the cost. The good news is that there may be programs you aren’t aware of that can help you pay for senior care.
Here are 5 potential financing solutions you should investigate on a senior loved one’s behalf:
1) Aid and attendance benefit
This program provides financial assistance to veterans and their surviving spouse. While Congress determines the rates on a yearly basis, current benefit maximums for those who qualify are as follows:
- Married veteran: $2,127 per month
- Married vet (spouse needs care): $1408 per month
- Single veteran: $1,794 per month
- Surviving spouse: $1,153 per month
2) Long-term care insurance
If your elderly loved one has long-term care insurance, don’t mistakenly assume it only covers a nursing home. Many policies also cover assisted living care and in-home care. Review their policy or call their insurance agent to clarify their benefit provisions.
3) Life settlement account
Many seniors have life insurance policies they took out many years ago. Another avenue to explore with a trusted financial planner is partnering with what is called a life settlement company. These companies buy life insurance policies for a rate that is higher than the policy’s surrender value. While it isn’t as much as the policy’s face value, it does offer a more immediate source of funding.
4) Reverse mortgage
For an older adult who would like to remain in their own home, a reverse mortgage might be the solution. The senior essentially sells their home to a financial institution but is allowed to stay in the house for the remainder of their life. This is an area where seniors have fallen victim to scams, however, so be sure to talk with a trusted elder law attorney or financial advisor for help.
A growing number of states have made it possible to receive Medicaid funding to pay for in-home care and assisted living communities, not just for nursing homes. Lawmakers have come to realize this may be a more cost-effective solution. If you are in doubt about whether or not your loved one would qualify for assistance, call your local agency on aging. They can help connect you with a social worker to walk you through the process.
Our final tip is not to overlook potential tools and devices designed to keep seniors safe at home longer. From raised toilet seats with arms to secure shower chairs and adjustable walking canes, you might find it helpful to talk with a licensed occupational therapist for more advice.