During these years, you may have many financial burdens. You may still be paying off your own student loans, trying to pay down a mortgage, paying for college tuition for children and starting to think about retirement. Your parents may need more help to continue to live in their home. Healthy living becomes more important during this time. Your long-term care plan needs reviewing and updating. If you do not have one, this is a good time to create one.
- Stay healthy and live well to maintain your health. Learn about the risks of lifestyle behaviors and their effects on healthy aging. Start by talking to your primary care physician.
- Assess your long-term care risk.
- Learn how much long-term care costs.
- If you provide long-term care for your parents or another relative, you can learn lessons for your own long-term care in the future.
- Become familiar with local resources that provide long-term care supports or services.
- Ask your friends and relatives about their experiences considering or purchasing financial products to pay for long-term care.
- Talk to friends or relatives who currently provide caregiving for a loved one. You can learn a lot from talking to people who have direct experience.
- Determine if you are able and willing to save on your own to pay for long-term care with personal income and savings. Calculate your costs
- Review your current health, life, disability and long-term care insurance coverage, if you have it.
- Find out if your employer offers any type of insurance that you can purchase to cover long-term care.
- Talk to your insurance agent or financial planner about planning for long-term care needs.
- Assess if long-term care insurance might be right for you. It costs far less to buy it when you are young.
- If you are trying to decide whether to move or stay in your current housing, consider some of the following:
- Accessibility of your home and the cost of modifications that might make it more accessible
- Condition of your home
- Cost of housing maintenance
- Cost of property taxes
- Location of family, shopping, medical care and other amenities
- If you decide to move, look for a home with universal design features that will meet your needs as you age. Think about a single-level house, condominium or apartment, or a retirement community that provides supports and services such as meals, transportation and housekeeping.
- Before you decide to move, also consider:
- Advantages of buying versus renting
- How much equity you have in your home
- If this will be a short- or long-term move
- Related tax and legal issues
- Value of your home
- Make sure you have a written will.
- Consider your options while you have time and ability to think them through clearly.
- Think about the type of care you wish to receive when you are unable to make or communicate those decisions for yourself.
- Discuss your preferences with your family and those close to you. Making your wishes clear ahead of time decreases the chance of future conflicts and takes the decision-making burden off your family.
- After you decide, put your plan in writing. Your plan should reflect your personal values and beliefs. In Minnesota, the recommended form is the health care directive. This has taken the place of the living will.
- Complete a health care power of attorney. This identifies the person you wish to make care decisions for you if you are unable to decide or communicate yourself.
- Share your plan with your doctor, family and others.
- Periodically review and update.