In October of 2016, my grandmother broke her back when she fell from her stair lift chair. She had always been fairly independent, but with that fall, everything changed.
She now needed care 24 hours a day. To make matters more complicated, she also had a few other pre-existing conditions including aphasia (difficulty speaking), dementia, and a medical condition that required her to self-catheterize every four hours (something she had handled on her own for almost 20 years).
She is not unlike many other seniors today who have a few manageable medical issues, until a major incident like a fall happens. She was now completely dependent on us, and we needed a plan for her day-to-day care.
Many calls and several internet searches later, the few options available to us to care for her made our heads spin. It would be between $6,000-$8,000 a month for a skilled facility. And, with her medical needs, assisted living and independent living were not an option. The only other possibility we had was for a family member to learn to catheterize my grandmother and bring in added help from an in-home care company for baths, meal prep, and general safety while we were at work. This was definitely our best option as it would allow my grandmother to stay home, and it would be more affordable than a skilled facility.
We continued to research our options and discovered it would still be $3,200-$4,800 a month for in home care (40 hours a week so we could work). That was more than I would make in a month working full-time. Without Long-Term Care insurance, one of us had to quit our jobs to take care of her. It seemed crazy to me that it was more cost effective to quit working than it was to pay for care.
While my grandmother has since made an amazing recovery, it got me thinking about Long-Term Care (LTC) insurance. Where do I find out more information? How much is it? What does it cover?
I found that many of the same companies that offer your car, home, or life insurance, also sell LTC insurance. Many of them offer customizable plans that allow you to choose a length of time for payout (ex. 1-5 years), varying payout per day when a claim is filed ($100-$500/day), and also the ability to include medication management as an option. All of these factors determine your monthly premium. Plans range from $150-$2,000 a month, so there is really an option for everyone.
After the obstacles we faced trying to care for my grandmother, Long-Term Care insurance is definitely a part of my retirement planning. If I ever need long-term care, I want options, not obstacles.
–Jess Forbes, A Place at Home