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Assisted Living and Long-Term Care Insurance

By September 26, 2011Elder Care

Article provided by guest author Kelly Dodds, Community Relations Coordinator at Encore Senior Village in Tucson

In my experience as a person working with the older population, I am often approached by my friends and colleagues asking how to protect themselves in the future as they age. I always recommend - with emphasis - long-term care insurance. While there are a large number of choices for assisted living providers, cost plays an instrumental factor in narrowing the options. Having a long-term care policy can increase the choices for a person needing care, making it possible for them to find the best placement option.

Assisted living, or residential care, is a type of living arrangement in which personal care services are provided, such as meals, housekeeping, and assistance with activities of daily living. Another important aspect that assisted living communities provide is the security and socialization that so many older adults would not generally be able to access when living alone in their own home. For most assisted living communities, such as the one in which I work, the goal is to keep people as independent as possible and decrease the likelihood of needing to move into a nursing home.

For many people, assisted living is an option, but for those with dementia, chronic diseases and ailments, the move to assisted living becomes unavoidable. When this type of move becomes imminent, many questions arise. The first being what type of housing would be the most appropriate - whether to choose a larger community versus an adult care home. The second question is naturally how the care will be paid for. Since Medicare does not cover any of the cost associated with long-term care, the cost must be covered out of pocket.

For those who must pay privately, a long-term care policy can lessen or even remove the financial burden that assisted living can create. In the Tucson area, the cost of assisted living ranges from $1500 to $3500. If more care is needed or a memory care community that provides a higher level of care is necessary, that cost can double. While there will be many different options available for assisted living throughout the pricing spectrum, the larger communities with more amenities higher standards of the quality and socialization for their residents will be at the higher end of the pricing scale.

Having had the opportunity to work with many people during the transition to an assisted living community, I have found that the feelings they experience can often be somewhat overwhelming. Change is often very difficult, and as the changes accumulate strong emotions can form. In most instances the feelings are quickly turned positive, and not having to worry about where the money will come from by having a long-term care insurance policy certainly alleviates some of the burden during the move. Many people who are not fortunate enough to have a policy will often struggle with the financial aspects of the decision while those with a long-term care insurance policy do not have to worry about the cost of care.

In my years of experience working in the healthcare field, I have come to understand all of the factors that the move to assisted living can include. I know for myself that I would not want cost to play a factor in the decision I would have to make for myself or someone that I love. As a provider, I am often assured that once a long-term policy claim has been approved, a huge burden is removed from both the community and the family, allowing us to focus on providing quality in life at all stages. With that, I encourage all of you to talk with your long-term care planners about options for your own future.

Kelly Dodds is the Community Relations Coordinator at Encore Senior Village in Tucson. Encore Senior Village is an assisted living community providing specialized memory care for those that are living with memory impairments. Located on the Tucson Medical Center Campus, Encore Senior Village creates a home-like environment allowing for secured freedom. The nationally recognized Rediscovery Program was developed to bring quality of life for each resident, focusing on their remaining abilities. For more information, please call Encore Senior Village at (520) 320-7505

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