A study published this summer in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society shows that the average cost to care for a dementia patient for just five years is more than $320,000. The cost of caring for a loved one who does not have dementia is over $130,000 on average. Unfortunately, the bulk of long-term care expenses are typically paid by the patients' families.
A two-pronged long-term care issue
Many people are living longer due to advanced medical treatments and the promotion of healthy lifestyles. In fact, some projections give married folks over the age of 65 a good chance of one of them living over the age of 90, and a 3 - 6 percent chance of living to 100.
While longer, healthier lives are good, many retirees find that they have not socked away enough savings with which to support themselves. When retirement savings dwindle, older generations often turn to their grown children for support.
Increased longevity also means a rise in Alzheimer's and dementia diagnoses across the nation. When financial and medical difficulties collide, entire families suffer.
Addressing extended care expenses
You may be looking to your own future or dealing with aging parents. Either way, it is important to explore your options before you get caught between a rock and a hard place. Learn about the importance of long-term care planning, including such issues as:
- Affording nursing home care
- Protecting assets from costs of $8,000 to $10,000 per month
- Qualifying for Medicaid or VA benefits
- Making gifts without running afoul of the five-year look-back rule