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Long-Term Care Planning Essential

February 24, 2012

NORTHFIELD, MINN.  – With the economy continuing to show signs of sluggishness, consumers are more thoughtfully considering the ability of their fiscal resources to meet their future needs and those of their family members. Many experts agree that one crucial component of this long-term planning process is too often overlooked: senior care.

Increasingly, savvy financial planners are insisting that any well-crafted financial plan should address your family’s long-term care needs. Given rapid advancements in medical technology and today’s emphasis on healthy living, many of us will live longer than we expected. That means we’ll have more time to enjoy retirement and do those things we’ve been looking forward to. But it also means that if the time comes when we need elder care, that phase of life could be longer, and more costly, than anticipated.

Kyle Nordine, President and CEO of Northfield Retirement Community, cautions, “Missing the opportunity to plan for your later years can have disastrous results — personally, emotionally and financially. None of us likes to think about the fact that we may one day require care or specialized housing. But failing to prepare now can severely limit the options available to you or a family member.”

According to Nordine, there are several things to consider when planning for long-term care and housing, among them:

Don’t expect the government to pay for it. Things are changing rapidly in the medical and elder care fields, and some government programs may or may not be available to future generations.

Have conversations about long-term care with your loved ones. Discuss what you would like your living situation to look like if the day comes when you can no longer care for yourself. Will your spouse or children be able to care for you?

Educate yourself and know what options and choices are available to you. Are you on track for saving enough to cover the costs of elder care? Should you consider long-term care insurance?

“For most people, their first choice is to stay at home. But once a catastrophic event happens, it’s too late,” Nordine says. “You become a part of the system, and you’ll end up where you fit in.”

These issues will affect all adults at some point in time, but for those with elderly parents, the time to make decisions is sooner rather than later. It is estimated that approximately seventy percent of people between the ages of 45 and 55 have at least one living parent. That means the need for assistance of some sort is all the more likely, and the need to prepare all the more urgent.

Nordine went on, “Whether a person’s needs are fairly basic and conducive to staying in his or her home, or more complicated and involve relocating to a new independent or assisted living environment, having investigated your options and having a plan will both reduce stress and increase your peace of mind. With the wide range of care options available – from independent or assisted living apartments and townhomes to more complete-care scenarios – a well-researched plan will make all the difference.”

Northfield Retirement Community has a 40-year history of providing quality housing and services specifically designed to meet the physical, social, psychological and spiritual needs of older adults. For more information about Northfield Retirement Community visit www.northfieldretirement.org.

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