10 Things you should know about Aging with Dignity and Independence
Aging with dignity and independence is the ability to live life to its fullest in the place you call home, regardless of age, illness, or disability.
1. Most of us will need a little bit of help to get by as we get older. We all see ourselves staying as healthy as possible through golden years. The truth is that 70 percent of us that reach 65 will need some form of care or services in our lives, for an average of 5-7 years.
2. Most of us are not prepared to pay for this care. Research shows that 43 percent of Americans over the age of 55 have less than $25,000 saved for retirement.
3. Supported Services are really expensive. In 2012, nursing home care cost an average of $81,212 a year for a semi-private room, assisted living care averages $62,743 a year, and non-medical home care is on average $19-25 an hour on average.
4. Medicare does not pay for these supportive services over an extended period of time. Only short – term rehabilitative care at home or in a nursing home are covered by Medicare and typically last 31 days, and you must meet and sustain certain conditions.
5. Most government assistance for supportive services is linked to poverty. Medicaid is the nation’s primary funder of personal care and supportive services, paying for about half of all services provided. However, should you need care, the only way to qualify is to spend nearly all of your assets and have done them in a way that does not trigger Medicaid’s 5 year financial look back.
6. Many of us aren’t aware of how to access the care we might need as we get older. In 2012, a national AARP poll of 1,000 Americans found one in five never thought about it or did not know where they would receive long-term care if they needed it today.
7. So far private insurance is not the answer. Just seven percent of the spending for personal care and supportive services comes from private long term care insurance. This is because less than 10 percent of adults have actually purchased a policy. High cost, increasing rates, and coverage denial are some of the reasons many have not gotten Long Term Care policies.
8. There is a growing demand for supportive services and care as people grow older. Today, over 12 million Americans rely on these services and supports. My 2025 the number will more than double with 27 million Americans relying upon long-term services and supports.
9. Soaring costs threaten the health system. In 2012, spending on supportive services for adults 65 and older was estimated to be $182 billion, and projected to increase to $684 billion in 2025.
10. Staring the conversation about your plans for your parents aging, as well as your own, is the solution to aging with dignity and to living those years to their fullest. In the next installment we will talk about the steps to take for aging well.