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Long Term Care Costs Continue to Increase

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Tags: Long Term Care, long term care insurance

Getting older is not getting any cheaper as the cost of long term care continues to climb.

One year in a nursing home costs, on average, $83,585 per year, or $229 per day, up 4.6% from last year.. Assisted living averages $3,293 per month, up 5.2% from last year, according to market Survey of Long-term Care costs by the MetLife Mature Market Institute.

"While families continue to provide the lion's share of care, paid care is commonly part of the equation and the costs can derail event the best financial plan, said Sandra Timmermann, director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute.

You've probably experienced this first-hand with a family member or friend. While you are dealing with the emotions of the need for long term care, you're also overwhelmed by the financial cost of managing for care with every day activities.

While many of us look to home care as long as we can, that too can be expensive - averaging about $21 per hour.

So what do you do? Here are 3 tips for preparing for a time when you need long-term care.

1. Take care of your health. The fact is that medical care and technology can keep us alive longer. So getting and staying healthy is important. It can be as easy as adding walking to your daily routine. That strengthens your muscles, helps you maintain your balance and your weight. Maintaining balance is so important. As you age, a simple fall can lead to many complications.

2. Have a plan for when you need care. Step back and see yourself at a time when you are less mobile and less able to do for yourself. Are you in the right house so that you can get around more easily? If you are no longer driving, how will you get your groceries, or go to the doctor's office? Who will help you - do you have family members nearby or younger friends who can lend a hand ---and how do you feel about asking for that help. It is a great gift to your family members to have a plan for how you want to live when you are at a point where you can't do everything yourself. And talk with someone in your family about your wishes.

3. Know how you will pay for long term care. If you are middle class this is a particularly difficult dilemma. Long term care is not paid for by Medicare. If you have very few financial resources you may qualify for government assistance - Medicaid, and that limits your choices in receiving long-term care. So your family will bear the burden of the costs of your care from their own financial resources. Know what the costs of care are in your area. Or if you think you would move toward family members, know what the cost of care is in that area.  If you are healthy, consider long term care insurance which shifts the risk of paying for long-term care from you to an insurance company. If that's not a possibility, segregate and earmark some of your assets to pay for long-term care.

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