Long-term care is usually not something most people like to think about when they are young and feel invincible, yet it is important to start planning early for how to achieve a high quality of life once we are out of the workforce and struggling to maintain our independence because of injury or advanced age.
Some people mistakenly believe that Medicaid will simply take care of them when that eventuality arrives, but they are in for an unpleasant surprise if they rely on that. Currently, Alabama’s Medicaid system has no option for patients who are not completely independent but who require care involving less than nursing home-type assistance.
Because Alabama Medicaid does not provide for assisted living communities, individuals under Medicaid lose a higher degree of their independence when they need assisted care. Assisted living communities are less expensive than nursing homes, saving about $85 per day per resident, according to the Alabama Policy Institute.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, most long-term care is not medical care, but rather assistance with basic personal tasks of everyday life. Someone who simply needs help bathing, dressing, using the toilet, taking medication, and preparing meals likely does not need the depth of care that nursing homes provide. Indeed, most people would prefer to live in a community with stimulating social opportunities than a hospital-type setting.
Regency Retirement Village represents senior living at its best, offering opportunities for socializing and activities to make life during retirement enjoyable. How does one pay for Assisted Living without Medicaid footing the whole bill?
Jeff Clay, Regency’s Vice President of Business Development, explained some of the options he shares with Alabama families when they request a consultation about relocating a loved one to Regency.
Those with a history of military service should inquire with the Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, about “Aid and Attendance” pensions that pay out maximum monthly benefits of up to $2,123.
Clay said some people choose to convert a life insurance policy, although he recommends they arrange for a pre-paid funeral since such policies normally go to pay final expenses. Regency partners with an organization called Life Care Funding to help people with such policy conversions.
Purchasing Long-Term Care Insurance, or LTCIs, are another option, although timing is of importance since most insurers are likely to raise rates or deny coverage to someone seeking a policy if they have a pre-existing health condition or are of advanced age. Clay said it’s critical to read and understand an LTCI clearly before investing in one so it meets a policyholder’s needs well into the future.
Commercials on television push another path, Reverse Mortgages, which can be useful but also need to be treated with great care. Low-interest Bridge loans from lenders like Elder Life Financial can help families pay the cost of Assisted Living as paperwork is being processed by the VA (usually paid in retro dollars from the date the application is received) or while a senior’s home is renovated and put on the market for re-sale.
Companion Living (sharing an apartment with a roommate) helps drive down the cost of Assisted Living to make it more affordable and may actually appeal more to those who’d enjoy the close companionship.
So there are financing options available to Alabama seniors and their families, even without the Medicaid waiver that other states enjoy. To find out more, call (205) 942-3355 and let our caring staff at Regency Retirement Village schedule a free consultation.