Advertisement
Long-Term Care Insurance

New Options for Seniors to Get Care at Home

For relatively healthy seniors who don't want to live in a retirement community, continuing care at home can be key to maintaining independence.

As Americans age and the need for long-term care grows, the options for providing it continue to evolve. An increasingly available choice: "continuing care at home" programs for seniors who want to stay in their own homes.

Typically, there's an entry fee (which may be based on your age at enrollment) and monthly fees based on your level of coverage. In the Westlake, Ohio-based Kendal at Home program, for example, a 75-year-old who wants coverage of in-home and facility care would pay an entry fee of roughly $50,000 and monthly fees of about $650, says Lynne Giacobbe, executive director. Ask if the fees can go up, and by how much, and whether any part of the entrance fee is refundable. (A portion of nonrefundable fees may be tax-deductible as a prepaid medical expense.)

Advertisement - Article continues below

Make sure you understand what services are included in those fees, and what might cost you extra. Typically, all members are assigned a "care coordinator" who works with you while you're healthy to meet your wellness goals and coordinates caregivers to help you get back on your feet when you have health problems. The care is generally provided by home health aides, who can help with bathing, grocery shopping, meal preparation and other daily tasks. But you may be charged extra if you need more specialized services such as physical therapy. You may also have to pay extra for educational workshops and transportation to non-medically necessary appointments.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The value you get from the program, of course, depends partly on your health. Sally Strauss, age 71, of Westlake, Ohio, was healthy when she enrolled in Kendal at Home in 2011. Within months, she had to have open-heart surgery and needed many weeks of care at home. Without the program, "I don't know what I would have done," Strauss says.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Gerrie Schmidt, however, hasn’t needed any in-home care since signing up with Plymouth Meeting, Pa.-based Friends LifeCare eight years ago. But the retired marketing executive has attended workshops on brain health and mindfulness meditation near her home in Philadelphia and made some new friends. "There really is a sense of community in addition to the services they provide," says Schmidt, age 70.

If you already have long-term-care insurance, a gold-plated continuing-care-at-home program "may be a belt-and-suspenders strategy," says James Ciprich, a financial planner at RegentAtlantic, in Morristown, N.J. But it may make sense to add a stripped-down continuing-care-at-home contract that provides only care coordination.

Although continuing-care-at-home programs offer something akin to insurance, they're not always regulated by state insurance departments or subject to strict financial standards. Ask to see a copy of audited financial statements, and ask a financial adviser or accountant to help you evaluate them. Ask how many members are in the program. If it's a very low number--perhaps less than 100--just a handful of people needing long-term care could hurt the financial viability of the program, Ciprich says.

Generally, the programs work to keep members at home for as long as they wish, although conditions such as advanced dementia may require a move to a facility. Since the goal is to "age in place," you may want to ask how many program members wind up in facilities. At Friends LifeCare, for example, just 33 of 2,500 members are in nursing homes or assisted-living facilities, says president Carol Barbour.

Advertisement

Most Popular

12 Tax Deadlines for July 15 (It's Not Just the Due Date for Your Tax Return)
tax deadline

12 Tax Deadlines for July 15 (It's Not Just the Due Date for Your Tax Return)

Between due dates for IRA or HSA contributions, paying estimated taxes and other deadlines, there's more to do by July 15 than just filing your federa…
July 10, 2020
Know Why Your Credit Score Changes: 9 Money Moves to Consider
credit & debt

Know Why Your Credit Score Changes: 9 Money Moves to Consider

Your credit score is a key indicator of your financial well-being and of the risk you pose to lenders. How good is yours?
July 10, 2020
65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On
stocks

65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On

These 65 Dividend Aristocrats are an elite group of dividend stocks that have reliably increased their annual payouts every year for at least a quarte…
July 8, 2020

Recommended

13 Tax Breaks for Homeowners and Home Buyers
income tax

13 Tax Breaks for Homeowners and Home Buyers

Owning (or buying) a home is expensive. But at least there are some tax deductions, credits, and exclusions that can help you recoup some of those cos…
June 22, 2020
20 Retailers That Have Amended Their Return Policies Due to COVID-19
home

20 Retailers That Have Amended Their Return Policies Due to COVID-19

Before you initiate a return, make sure your retailer of choice is currently accepting product returns and exchanges.
May 8, 2020
You Can Still Buy and Sell a Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak
home

You Can Still Buy and Sell a Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

But you’ll have to jump through some hoops to close the deal.
May 7, 2020
10 Reasons You'll Regret Buying a House With a Swimming Pool
home

10 Reasons You'll Regret Buying a House With a Swimming Pool

Attention home buyers: Carefully weigh the pros and cons of owning a home with a swimming pool in the backyard before you sign on the dotted line.
May 1, 2020