(239) 434-8557 info@burzynskilaw.com

The aging population is growing at an unprecedented rate worldwide, and with it comes a rising demand for elder care services.  While providing the best possible care for aging loved ones is a top priority for many families, the rising cost of elder care can be financially devastating.

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Elder care costs encompass a broad spectrum of services, including in-home care, assisted living facilities, memory care units, and nursing homes.

Why are costs rising?

  1. Labor Costs:  A significant portion of elder care expense is dedicated to paying caregivers and health care professionals. As the demand for these services increase, so do wages and salaries, which subsequently drives up the overall cost of care. 
  2. Specialized Care:  Seniors often require specialized care for chronic conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other age-related illnesses.  The specialized training and resources needed to provide this care come at a premium.
  3. Regulatory Compliance:  Compliance with government regulations and standards for elder care facilities can be expensive, and these costs are often passed on to families.
  4. Facility Upkeep: Maintaining the facilities where seniors reside, including building maintenance, renovations, and utilities also contribute to the overall cost.
  5. Medications and Medical Equipment:  Many seniors require medication, medical equipment, and supplies that can be expensive and not always fully covered by insurance or government programs.

As elder costs continue to rise, many families are grappling with the harsh reality of potential financial ruin.

Draining Savings: Families may be forced to deplete their savings, including retirement funds, to cover the costs of elder care, leaving them financially vulnerable in their later years.

Caregiver Burnout: Some family members take on the role of primary caregiver to cut costs, but this can lead to caregiver burnout and loss of income due to reduced work hours or quitting their jobs altogether.

Tapping into Home Equity:  Some families resort to tapping out home equity through reverse mortgages or selling their homes to finance elder care expenses, potentially leaving them homeless or with inadequate housing options.

Reduced Quality of Life:  Families may find themselves cutting back on their own necessities, such as education, vacations, or home improvements, to allocate more resources to elder care.

How can families cope with the rising cost of elder care?

When analyzing a family’s ability to pay for the cost of care needed, we examine the following potential payment sources:

  1. Private Assets:  Since our clients are basically all elders, they have had a lifetime to potentially save and accrue assets. Those with millions of dollars in the bank will probably be able to withstand any level of care needed without putting them at risk of deprivation. 
  2. Long-Term Care Insurance:  Regular readers will know that I often write about the importance of Long-Term Care Insurance for those whose health and age allow it.  For those who have a policy and wonder if they should keep paying the increasing annual costs, please do not let it lapse without having someone impartial review your policy.  Some of the earlier policies are irreplaceable: you can no longer buy lifetime unlimited coverage at any price.  You might have a very valuable policy.
  3. Medicare:  If you have traditional Medicare (not an “Advantage” plan), you will have good coverage for rehab stays to get you back to your level of ability.  For seniors who must undergo surgery, or who have a fall or stroke, often a period of rehabilitation (physical therapy) is needed to be able to safely return home.  Medicare pays the first 20 days and up to 100 days with a co-pay (which your Medicare supplement usually fully covers, unless you have “Advantage”).
  4. Medicaid: For those who will need long-term care (beyond the 100 days of Medicare), the Medicaid program can be budget saver. There are many options in Florida and many exemptions which can allow you to use this program without being totally broke, especially for a married couple.

If your family is facing possible long-term care needs, you should call to make an appointment 239-434-8557.  Explore your options to find ways to help defray the staggering costs ahead.