Long-term care is especially important for women to consider.
As we age, we require more assistance.
For some, failing memory can create dangerous situations.
For example, people may take more medication doses than necessary or set kitchen fires by forgetting food left on the stove or that the gas has been left on.
Those who grow weak physically also have a greater likelihood of injury from falls.
According to a recent Kiplinger article titled “A Woman’s Guide to Long-Term Care,” the effects of aging often require long-term care for seniors.
Because women often live longer than men and comprise 74 percent of solo households for those age 80 and older, according to a 2018 Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University; it is unsurprising an AARP study found that 70 percent of nursing home residents are women.
For these reasons, it is particularly important for women to plan for long-term care needs in their retirement years.
What do women need to consider as they prepare for their futures?
Medicare and Medicaid.
Even though they sound very similar, these two government programs are distinctly different from one another.
While some people believe they can receive ongoing Medicare coverage for long-term care, they are mistaken.
When Medicare does cover these expenses, it only provides full coverage for the first 20 days and partial coverage for the next 80 days.
By the way, Medicare only covers care for rehabilitation services, not for custodial care.
An example of custodial care is home long-term care.
Although Medicaid pays for long-term care, it is needs based.
This means you will need to qualify financially for Medicaid coverage.
Planning for long-term care.
To protect your nest egg from being quickly drained through long-term care expenses, it is wise for you to purchase long-term care insurance.
Another way women can prepare for these expenses is to create an investment account solely dedicated to long-term care.
Lowering expenses now can also allow you to have more money in the future as long-term care needs arise.
While waiting to claim Social Security until age 70 has many benefits, it can be particularly valuable for women with a longer life expectancy.
For those who are married to a spouse who earns the higher wage, it would be beneficial for the higher earning spouse to also wait to claim Social Security.
The surviving spouse can receive a larger benefit when his or her spouse dies.
Generally, the break-even age for Social Security is between age 77 and 83.
Those who are likely to live longer than age 83 will benefit from waiting to collect Social Security until age 70.
Estate planning can protect you financially and medically if your long-term care involves you being incapacitated.
By having a power of attorney in place, your agent can continue making payments for long-term care on your behalf should you be unable to do so yourself.
Work with an experienced elder law attorney to evaluate your long-term care options as you age.
Reference: Kiplinger (July 11, 2021) “A Woman’s Guide to Long-Term Care”