Fact Versus Fiction on Financing Senior Care

When it comes to healthy aging, quite honestly, there’s a lot to do. You’re supposed to make sure to keep your body active and your brain engaged all while maintaining your social connections as well. Sure, the benefits to your overall well-being are worth the effort, but retirement is supposed to be a time with less responsibility on your plate, right? Well, it turns out that in senior living you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Here’s how programs like our Vivid Life make keeping active, engaged, and connected easy and fun! 

Benefits of Healthy Aging 

Good things happen when you focus on healthy aging. In addition to feeling better overall, which in and of itself is a win, other benefits of keeping active, engaged, and connected include:  

  • Improved ability to do everyday things ​ 
  • Reduced impact of illness and chronic disease​ 
  • Enhanced mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy level
  • Reduced feelings of depression and stress
  • Increased feelings of happiness and self-confidence
  • Reduced risk of cognitive decline 
  • Increased mental adaptability and cognitive reserve 
  • Improved memory recall and problem-solving skills 
  • Improved concentration and attention to detail  

How Senior Living Can Help 

At home, particularly when living alone, it can be hard to stay as active, engaged, and connected as you’d like. From lack of opportunity to lack of motivation to lack of transportation to mobility challenges, and more, it’s tough, we get it! That’s why we created the Vivid Life program in our senior living communities. It’s composed of three parts: Vibrant Body, Vibrant Brain, and Vibrant Connections. Here’s what each entails:  

Vibrant Body We offer amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, walking trails, gardening opportunities, and even a dog park to help you stay active. A sample of activities includes:  

  • Walking club – Daily walks at different outdoor locations using pedometers to measure steps. 
  • Yoga – At least once per week for gentle yoga, and once per week for mindful breathing. 
  • Fitness classes – At least two times per week using a variety of hand weights, resistance bands, and circuit-type exercises. 
  • Tai Chi – At least once per week with a live instructor. 
  • Non-traditional exercise – Dancing, gardening, etc. at least two times per week. 
  • Physical games and sports – Golf, putting, bowling, croquet, bocce, and ping pong available daily with organized events one to two times per week. 

Vibrant Brain We offer monthly calendars filled with classes, events, creative arts, and enrichment opportunities to help keep you engaged. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Visiting lecture series – Twice per month with topics such as cultural, historical, local interest, career-oriented, etc. 
  • Creative art series – At least one per week with a theme that runs 3-6 weeks, such as poetry writing, storytelling, painting, digital photography, etc. 
  • Learning series – At least three times per month with an emphasis on learning something new such as foreign language, sign language, technology, hobbies, etc. 
  • Games – At least one time per week and may include poker, bridge, Scrabble, etc. 
  • Mindfulness – A meditation class once per week and gratitude discussion group twice monthly. 
  • Church service – At least once a week through visits by local churches. 
  • Stress reduction – At least once per month class that offers deep breathing exercises, nature walks, music appreciation, spa-type treatments, etc. 

 Vibrant Connections We offer resident-led clubs, social events, outings and volunteer opportunities for any interest to help you stay connected. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Outings – At least twice per month and may include going to concerts, art shows, museum visits, theatre productions, etc. 
  • Intergenerational programming – At least once per month and focuses on building relationships between young adults/children and residents. 
  • New resident welcome party – At least once per month to formally introduce all new residents, and includes ice breakers, social games, etc. to encourage connection. 
  • Philanthropic program – At least once per month provide residents the opportunity to give back to the community, such as volunteering for a local food bank or pet shelter. 
  • Resident-led clubs – May include game clubs, professional clubs, common interests, etc. that meet at least monthly.  

What’s more, it’s all right outside your door (or transportation is provided offsite) and all in a supportive environment with home maintenance, housekeeping, and restaurant-style dining freeing your time to make it even easier to stay active, engaged, and connected. 

Learn more about Vitality Living’s Vivid Life programs. Or find a Vitality Living community near you today to schedule a tour. 

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If you’re nearing or in your retirement years, chances are you’ve given some thought to what your care needs may be in the future and how you’ll pay for them. The trouble is there’s a lot of confusion around cost of care and what is or isn’t covered by your health insurance, Medicare and/or Medicaid. We can help by clearing up some of the most common misconceptions about financing senior care.

The Cost of Care

Over the past 15 years, the cost of long-term senior care services such as senior living and in-home care has steadily risen across the United States, according to the Genworth 2018 Cost of Care Survey.

The survey found these average monthly costs for long-term senior care:

  • Homemaker services – Help with household tasks that cannot be managed alone: $4,004
  • Home health aide services – “Hands-on” personal care, but not medical care: $4,195 24 hour care costs as much as $10-14,000, depending on where one lives.
  • Adult day health care – Social and support services in a community-based, protective setting: $1,560
  • Assisted living – A residential arrangement providing personal care and health services; Private, one-bedroom: $4,000
  • Nursing home care – Often a higher level of supervision and care than in assisted living with onsite nursing 24/7; also known as skilled care; Semi-private room: $7,441; Private room: $8,365

The Truth About Coverage

If you’re like most people, you probably aren’t sure whether you can afford those costs. It’s a good thing there’s health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid right? Well…

Fiction: Medicare covers all types of long-term senior care and for an indefinite time. 

Fact: Medicare only pays for long-term senior care if you require skilled services or rehabilitative care: 

  • In a nursing home for a maximum of 100 days, however, the average Medicare covered stay is much shorter (22 days).
  • You are receiving skilled home health or other skilled in-home services. Generally, long-term senior care services are provided only for a short period of time.
  • Medicare  does not pay for non-skilled assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADL), which make up the majority of long-term senior care services. 

Fiction: Medicaid picks up where Medicare leaves off.

Fact: Medicaid does pay for the largest share of long-term senior care services, but to qualify, your income must be below a certain level and you must meet minimum state eligibility requirements based on the amount of assistance you need with ADL.

Fiction: If you have health insurance, you have more options for long-term senior care coverage.

Fact: Health Insurance through employers or private health insurance typically cover only the same kinds of limited services as Medicare. If they do cover long-term senior care, it is typically only for skilled, short-term, medically necessary care.

BONUS FACT: Some senior living communities reserve a percentage of their apartments for lower income individuals so it’s always good to check.

For more information, check out our Family Guide to Funding Senior Care & Housing!

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Other Options to Finance Senior Care

Don’t worry; even without the benefit of Medicare, Medicaid and/or health insurance, there are still options to help you offset the cost of senior care.

Veterans Aid & Attendance Benefit 

Wartime veterans or a surviving spouse with limited income may be eligible to receive a non-service connected pension (above the basic pension) to assist in paying for assisted living, home health care, adult day care or skilled nursing. 

Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance

LTC insurance helps to pay for the cost of home care, adult day care, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and hospice by covering services typically not covered by health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Keep in mind that the older you are when you purchase the policy, the more expensive the premium might be. 

Life Insurance Conversion

Converting a life insurance policy into a Long-Term Care Benefit Plan is also an option. Anyone with an in-force life insurance policy can transform it into a pre-funded financial account that disburses a monthly benefit to help pay for long-term care needs such as home care, assisted living, skilled nursing and hospice. Unlike life insurance, this account is a Medicaid qualified asset.

While there’s no way to know for sure whether or not you’ll need senior care – although most do at some point – knowing what to expect financially can help you prepare and give you invaluable peace of mind.

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