But a dear friend who’s very familiar with eldercare issues told me not long ago that assisted living can be an unwise choice for the elderly, financially speaking.
“Insurance typically won’t cover it,” she said, “and we’re talking thousands of dollars a month out of pocket. If you live in such a facility for any length of time, and if your assets are limited, you may wind up blowing a big chunk of your savings when you’re still in fairly decent shape.”
Then, if you become really sick and need skilled-nursing care, you may be in trouble, she warned. With good reason, it turns out: I’ve heard that in our county, you can’t even get into a nursing home unless you can pay your own way for the first year or two, to the tune of $7000 a month or more.
That’s no problem if you were smart enough to invest in long-term care insurance, or wealthy enough to earmark adequate funds for that purpose. But how frustrating would it be to find that you’ve blown your nursing-home “entry fee” on assisted-living rent?
What would you do then? Try to establish residency in a county where money-losing Title 19 payments will be accepted from the get-go? Or, better yet, find yourself a “Golden Girls” living situation, so you can spend your sunset years eating cheesecake with incredibly wise and funny girlfriends? (Okay, who wouldn’t want that – but how likely are you to find and fit into such a situation?)
It’s true that we don’t know what the long-term care situation will be in this country if and when we ever need skilled nursing care. In England, for instance, the long-term impact of socialized medicine is already becoming apparent as the nation begins shutting down her “unaffordable” nursing homes. If we follow suit, maybe there won’t be enough beds available at any price.
In which case, if prayer isn’t your thing, “eat, drink and be merry” while you can might be the best advice, and perhaps an assisted-living facility is the best place to do that. For the rest of us, leaning on the Lord and saving our funds for long-term care may be the wiser course.
Originally posted 4/2/14