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AL Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Thursday, April 25, 2019

How Can We Prepare When Long-Term Care Costs Continue to Rise in Alabama?

Across the nation, long-term care costs continue to rise. In just a few short years, the costs of a skilled nursing care have more than doubled in states across the nation. According to the studies performed by the Genworth Annual Cost of Care Survey, two of the reasons this is happening include “the shortage of skilled workers and (the fact that) aging Americans need more specialized care, the result of waiting too long to receive professional care. By then, the diagnosis has progressed beyond the need for basic care to very specialized and intensive levels of care, which is more expensive.”


In Alabama we face similar challenges. In Dothan, this same study shares with us that the average monthly cost of an assisted living facility is $2,663. A semi-private room in a skilled nursing facility nearly triples as it’s estimated to cost $6,570 per month.


Knowing this is a potential cost for you, as a senior, and your loved ones, how do you plan forward? Most of us do not have additional income each month to be able to afford the cost of a skilled nursing facility on top of our monthly bills. Fortunately, there are public benefits programs such as Medicaid that exist to help you be able to afford this type of care. In reality, however, knowing these facts makes advance planning more important than ever before.


-As you think about future long-term care needs, let us share several of the questions to consider: 

-What does long-term care mean to me?

-Do I have a diagnosis that might make it more likely I would need long-term care in the future?

-Do I have a local network of friends and family who could support me?

-Where would I live if I could no longer complete my activities of daily living?

-What does long-term care in my community cost?

-Can I afford the cost of long-term care on top of my household responsibilities?

 

Planning forward to address long-term care challenges is critical to be able to have as many options as possible. Unfortunately, many of us do not consider planning until we are in a crisis. A crisis could be a sudden injury that renders us unable to walk, a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, or even the loss of a spouse. In these instances, circumstances might make it impossible for us to live alone or without long-term care support.


When we take the time to consider our elder care needs early on, this means we will know not only what to do in these scenarios but in a crisis we have not anticipated. Although you can make plans in a crisis, the options available to you may be fewer than when you have years to plan. Further, in a crisis, it may not be you who has the ability to plan. In this instance, your decision makers under your durable power of attorney may be called upon to make decisions for you.

 

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. It is never easy to contemplate a future that could include a need for long-term care support but, in our experience, planning early is never a choice you regret. Do not wait to schedule a meeting with our office to discuss your elder law questions.



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