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Planning for the Future: How to Assess Your Long-Term Care Needs

Added on November 2, 2018 by Jim_Vogel

Planning for the Future: How to Assess Your Long-Term Care Needs | grandparents with grandchildren

For many seniors, planning for retirement and beyond can be difficult, to say the least. It's hard to think about where you might be in five or 10 years and what your needs might be, but it's important to do so in order to prepare as much as possible. Whether you need to think about making changes to your home, your lifestyle, or your health, assessing your needs now will prevent any nasty surprises down the road.

While many seniors want to live at home for as long as possible, health issues or injuries can prevent that or make it much more difficult. Take a look at what your current needs are and whether they are being met by your home. Will there be safety issues if your health declines? What sort of changes can you make to your house to ensure that you and your partner are comfortable both now and in the future? There are also financial issues to consider, especially if you think you might need to downsize your home or pay for long-term care.

Planning for Long-Term Care

Taking a look at your current situation will help you assess where you might be in a few years, which will, in turn, dictate how you prepare for post-retirement. If there are health conditions that run in the family, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor about them and look for the best ways to prevent them. Your lifestyle choices can also have an impact on where your health will be in the near-future; smokers, people who work at high-stress jobs, and individuals with a history of drug or substance abuse all face major consequences as they get older. Now is the time to make positive changes in the way you live.

If you plan to age in place, it's imperative that you assess your home and look for places where injury is a risk. These usually include the kitchen, bathrooms, and stairs. Floors should be free of clutter and items like throw-rugs, which can be trip hazards; the bathroom should be fitted with a grab-bar and seat in the shower to help bathing safer. Lighting should be bright in every corner of the house, especially if you have poor vision.

If your home is very large, or if it contains stairs you must climb every day, it's a good idea to consider downsizing to a smaller home that is all one level. This will significantly reduce the risk of falls and injury and will be much easier for you to take care of. Living in a smaller home will also save you money every month on utilities.

You and your spouse may never need long-term care, but it's best to plan for it and be prepared, just in case. Injuries, illness, and disease can occur when you least expect them, making it harder to live independently. Planning now for your own care -- whether it's a home health nurse, an adult daycare, or an aide who comes in to help with household chores -- will help you avoid difficult financial decisions down the road. Click here for more information.

Look at Your Finances

While many people contribute to 401K accounts over the years and put money into savings every month to build a nest egg, it's not always that cut and dry. You may have had some financial setbacks recently, or perhaps you're worried that your finances won't sustain you through retirement. Take a good look at your financial standing with an advisor who can help you calculate exactly what you need for the coming years; this will help you allot money for long-term care should you need it.

Planning for the future can be a scary, stressful undertaking, but it doesn't have to be. Talk to your spouse or partner and work on preparing for the coming years together. Knowing what comes next will give you peace of mind and allow you to focus on enjoying your retirement.

Photo via Pixabay by Sylviebliss

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