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Long-Term Care Can Add Up Fast

OC Register

Have you thought, really thought, about the cost of long-term health care? Like an assisted-living home or nursing home? Assisted-living prices run about $3,000 a month. A nursing home is a staggering $8,000 a month on average.

"I want to grab people by the lapels and shout at them 'You Are Going to Die Someday. We All Are!'" says Dr. Marion Somers, an elder-care expert and author.

She's on a nine-week national bus tour to raise awareness about long-term care planning and will be in Orange County on Friday speaking to health experts at an industry meeting in Irvine.

Q. You say there is a national refusal to hear what you are preaching?

A. There is some attitude that grandma has an endless stream of money and can pay for endless support. Or the boomers themselves simply will not plan and save for what is inevitable – their own elder care.

We are going to have national chaos. We must deal with this issue.

Q. Is living in assisted homes or nursing homes inevitable?

A. No. But then we need to elder-proof our own homes to care for a person, and boomers won't do this either. We need to make them safer and eliminate clutter. Even do simple things like up the wattage of light bulbs. Elders need more light.

Q. What is this program you're promoting with your travels?

A. 3in4 Need More (3in4NeedMore.com) is a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness that three in four Americans will need these long-term care services but are not prepared to pay for them. And these services, which can cost thousands of dollars, are not covered by traditional insurance or Medicare.

As Americans plan for retirement, most don't realize their future health-care costs can wipe out their nest eggs in just a few months. The simple act of planning ahead can alleviate the financial and emotional burden to yourself and your loved ones.

Q. So you are traveling in your 1960s Greyhound to these cities. Good results?

A. It's tough to get people to listen to the message.

My advice is to prepare for CARE by:

C: Considering your risks. How likely is it you will need long-term care?

A: Assessing your needs. Who will care for you and how will you pay for it?

R: Researching costs. Determine the costs of long-term care in your city.

E: Educating yourself. Understand all your options from savings to long-term care insurance and so on.

Q. It's really interesting to go to the 3in4needmore.com website and calculate the costs of care in different states.

A. Well, the costs are obviously significantly higher in some cities. It's pretty important to know what you are facing where you plan to spend your final days. Maybe you're going to move to be near adult children? You need to take that all into account.

Q. You have a contest going on?

A. On the website, 3in4contest.com, if you are a caregiver, you can enter the contest to win some $50,000 in prizes, including a week of health and relaxation treatments for yourself and an in-home safety and elder-proofing session.

Q. Have you been at this a long time?

A. I've been advising people on elder care for 40 years.

I have written "Elder Care Made Easier." That pretty much sums up my best thoughts on the topic.

I should add one thing – don't forget your own funeral arrangements and obituary information. We all know things about ourselves no one else knows.

Contact the writer: jghaas@cox.net

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Long-term health care

Long-term health care services can be very expensive. This is a very important aspect that people do not understand when they are seeking long term health care. Educating yourself is key in this type of industry. If you don't have time to educate yourself there are always home health services that have the education to place you in the right facilities. Thank you for such a great and informing post.

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