No one wants to think about the time in
life when you will not be able to take care of yourself at home. However,
it is something that has to be considered and to save money it has to be
planned for long before you would ever need the care.
I am not talking about Government Medicare.
I am talking about long term home care for you when you need someone to
help you shower, get dressed or clean your home. I am also talking about
the time when you can't live at home anymore and need to stay at a nursing
home or rest home. Medicare will not pay for any home care or long term
nursing home care. If you don't have an extra insurance plan for long term
home or nursing home care, you will be stripped of all your savings in two
years or less.
At this time nursing homes are costing
about $150 a day depending on where you live in the country. Home health
care costs about $150 a week for five visits. This does not mean the
people stay with you all day. They will be there for perhaps an hour or
two. L.V.N.'s (Licensed Vocational Nurses) get about $15 an hour so you can figure the cost if you
need someone who can give you medical care. A home health care worker
normally gets $8 to $10 per hour.
So how can you protect yourself when you
are too elderly to care for your needs and Medicare will not? You have to
plan ahead and get a long-term care insurance policy. These policies are
less expensive when you get them in your 50's rather than waiting to get
one while you are in your mid 60's . At today's rates a plan that pays
$150 a day for care will cost a person in their mid 50's about $200 a
month. If you wait until you are over 65, the monthly cost for the
same policy could be as high as $2,000 a month.
My broker said why give $200 a month to an
insurance company for, maybe, 20 years before it's needed when you can
invest the money every month yourself. He said that's what the
insurance company is going to do. Then when you need the money it has
grown and all belongs to you. The only negatives in that plan is that if
you need the care in just 10 years, and for life, you would be better off
with the insurance plan. If you live for 20 years plus, you would probably
have been better off to have invested the money yourself. It's a gamble!
Also remember, when you take money out of your investment you will have to
pay IRS taxes on it. However, there are no income taxes on insurance
You ask, what are they going to do if I
simply don't have the money when I am 70 years old and need the home care?
Will they put me out on the street? I know some street people in L.A. that
believe that is exactly what happened to them. There are times that
Medicare will give you home health care visits two times a week. (But many
times you have to stand on your head and beg like a dog to get just two
visits.) Don't plan on it.
I know of homeless people who have Medicare
and Social Security and still have to live in boxes on the streets in
downtown L.A. (By the way, refrigerator boxes are in great demand on the
streets. The reason is that you can sleep stretched out in them.) There is
nothing magical about being old and sick without income. Social Security
is not enough income anymore and by the time people now in their 30's and
40's get to be 67 they will be lucky to get anything. You say, "I thought
you get Social Security at 65 years of age." Sorry, they have already moved
the age up to 67 if you are in your early 40's; and by the time someone
who is 25 or 30 reaches retirement age, it will probably be 70 years of
Remember, when it was set at 65 the average life span was 65 years of
age. The Social Security officials didn't think most people would live
past 65 or 66. Well, now the average age is 72 for men and 74 for women.
So your government is raising the age for retirement higher and higher in
hopes that most people will not live that long. The government says this
is the only way they can afford Social Security. Now you understand why so
many people are investing in IRA's and other funds and stocks. Take a look
at my investment section for more information on IRA's and other
When one senior citizen of a couple goes
into a nursing home and they don't have a long term care policy, it will
normally eat up the couple's savings in a year. Now you have two senior
citizens without funds. To keep this from happening I have seen loving
husbands and wives get divorced so that the wife will not lose everything when
her husband goes to the nursing home. These homes can cost $150 to $300 a
day. When you are officially divorced then the person who has to go into
the nursing home can only lose half of their savings. I covered this type
of sad situation in Houston, Texas.
I think the laws should be changed so
that senior citizens do not have to divorce their loving mate who is
extremely ill, so that he or she can get nursing home care. You can
explain over and over again to seniors that this is just a divorce for
legal and economical reasons and it has nothing to do with the couple's
love for each other, but many times it is what will kill the spirit to
live in a loving senior citizen. When you tell an 85 year old sick woman
that she must be divorced from her husband for any reason, it's like
putting a knife into her heart. Her life mate is all she has left, and
when you divorce her from that feeling you are killing her spirit to live.
Can you believe we do this to our senior couples by law? It makes you
wonder who the dummies are that make these laws.
More and more seniors are living at home
with families. Couples are finding that it costs much less to put on an
extra room for Mom or Dad than pay $100's of dollars a week for a nursing
home. That's what we did in our family. It's a much better life style for
the senior. If you want more information on nursing homes click on our
Consumer Tips page for How to find the right Nursing Home.
Remember if you are in your late 20's and
you put $2,000 a year in an IRA, by the time you retire you will be a
millionaire. Good luck.