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ARTICLE Long-term care: Plan now to save later

Long-term care: Plan now to save later

You may not want to think about long-term care. But, planning for it now can give you and your loved ones peace of mind. And, it can help you save money.

Running the numbers

The good news is, African Americans are living longer. Since 1960, life expectancy at age 65 increased by 2.6 years for African-American men. It increased 3.6 years for African-American women.

This means planning for long-term care is more important than ever for African Americans. Around 70 percent of people older than age 65 need some form of long-term care. Of these, most pay for some or all their care out of their own pockets.

Calculating the cost of care

Long-term care includes services you might need to support your health and daily living. This care can include help with bathing and dressing, home health care or an assisted living facility.

The costs vary greatly. For instance, a home health aide that visits a few times a week might cost around $18,000 a year. A semi-private room in a nursing home could cost around $68,000 a year.

Finding financial support

You can't necessarily count on Medicare to pay for long-term care costs. Usually, only limited services are covered - such as skilled care for a short time. Medicaid may help, but only if you qualify.

Also, health insurance may cover some of the costs, but usually only if you have a long-term care policy.

Planning ahead

Start planning now. That way, you'll have time to explore your options. And, that means you'll have more control over your future.

Some options to support long-term care include:

  • Long-term care insurance. Policies are based on the age when you purchase them. So, the younger you are when you buy it, the less you will have to pay.
  • Personal resources. These include income from a pension, Social Security, 401K, savings, stocks and bonds.
  • A reverse mortgage. This might be an option if you have enough equity in your home.

For more information on long-term care options, talk with your doctor or a social worker. Or, visit Eldercare Locator, or call 1-800-677-1116.


The information provided herein is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for your doctor's care. Please discuss with your doctor how the information provided is right for you.