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With age comes wisdom, knowledge, joy, understanding and, unfortunately, a slew of health problems. While some people are able to age gracefully and maintain a high quality of life well into their golden years, the opposite is also true: some people are riddled with very serious health problems as their bodies and minds deteriorate. This can be a very challenging time for both the elderly person experiencing a decline and for their families, who are often at a loss as to what to do in the situation. Very often, it is determined that the suffering elderly person can benefit from extra help in his/her daily life, whether that is an in-home health aide coming in to cook meals and vacuum the carpet or if it is a move to a private care nursing home. The choice can be an agonizing one for families, especially as long-term care prices continue to rise precipitously on a yearly basis.

In 2016, the median price of a private care nursing home was $92,378 per year. This averages out to an astonishing $7,689 per month, for one room in the care facility. Private care nursing facilities offer the greatest degree of medical care for a loved one, and are often the safest place for people suffering from dementia-related illnesses. When patients need this level of care, they are often suffering from several diseases and are taking many prescription medications. While the level of care might be excellent, this is quite a steep price for the average family to absorb. In many cases, as Medicare does not cover long-term stays in nursing home facilities, families are forced to spend all their loved one’s assets until they are poor enough to qualify for Medicaid (the government’s health insurance plan for the poor).

Therefore, it is important to plan ahead and do research prior to reaching an advanced age. If purchased early enough, long-term care insurance can be a lifesaver and can help people get the care they need, when they need it, without going bankrupt. Knowing what is covered by one’s health insurance is vital, too, as some plans assist with the cost of an in-home health aide or adult day programs. Although it may be difficult to talk about, families that are prepared for their loved ones’ later years will be in a much better position to help.