Surveys have found that the economic crisis is discouraging or outright scaring people away from saving for their future needs. Many are looking at the daily headlines and are afraid to put money away and watch it shrink or disappear. Others can not afford to save as they try to keep up with the costs of daily living. Compounding the decline in our nation’s already anemic 1% saving rate is the rise in unemployment and the loss of investment income and home equity.
This trend will have a harsh impact on seniors as they begin to enter the “Senior Living” stage of their lives and need to move into some form of assisted living. Most people do not understand the costs associated with the kinds of housing and care they expect to receive in the future. Many do not know the differences between Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. Most people do not have long term care insurance, and for those that do they have seen significant disruptions and rate increases with their policies. It is important that people not bury their heads in the sand and wait for everything to return to “normal”.
Now is the time to take action and seek information about “Senior Living” and the various financial options. It is also important to have a realistic understanding of the costs involved and where the money is coming from. It would be a mistake to assume the government is going to take care of everything—and then find out too late that it doesn’t work like that. There are very specific requirements to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid and limitations to what those programs will cover. Also, these entitlement programs are not a free ride and there are expenses associated with both.
More and more emphasis is being placed back on the individual to shoulder the burden of paying for senior housing and long term care. There are many “Funding Solution” programs for seniors and now is the time to be researching options and planning for the future—because the future always seem to come when you least expect it and at the most inconvenient times.