Planning for the active retirement years that you have been looking forward to throughout your working career is important, but since everything is connected you would do well to act in anticipation of the twilight years that will follow.
While it is true that senior citizens are the fastest growing age group, if you drill down even further you find that the segment of the population that is 85 and up is the most rapidly expanding group of seniors. One out of every four Americans who reach this age are residing in a nursing home at any given time, and according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services 70% of senior citizens will someday need long-term care.
When should you begin looking for a long-term care facility? Should you do it once you need the care? Clearly, this is not the best idea because you may feel an urgency to act, and in fact you may not be in a position to make the decision for yourself. Though you may or may not need long-term care eventually, it is a good idea to do some research, visit facilities that seem appealing to you, and identify an assisted living facility or nursing home that you would feel comfortable residing in. There are many good resources online, including a very useful tool at Medicare.gov. Word of mouth references are also of great assistance.
It is better to be safe than sorry, and if you already know where you would like to reside if you need long-term care, you greatly simplify the process should such a move becomes necessary. It should be noted that there are some significant costs associated with long-term care, and Medicare does not cover them. If you have not addressed the matter of budgeting for these expenses, you may want to devise a strategy with the assistance of an experienced elder law attorney.
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