Coming up with a strategy for funding senior living expenses — in particular, long-term care — can feel overwhelming when you fear you don’t have the financial resources to make it happen. But before you rule it out, take the time to review all of your financial assets and make a plan to discuss your choices with family members and a trusted financial or elder law advisor.
Having an accurate picture of where you stand can make the entire process of funding senior living for you, or your loved one, much easier.
Funding senior living 101: 3 steps to get you started
Everyone’s situation is unique, but here are a few steps to help get the ball rolling.
1. Get it all together
Financial statements, policies, account information, files, certificates — those important papers that you may not have looked at in some time — now is the time to locate them. Check your safety deposit box, file cabinet or safe. Maybe you’ve stored them online.
Start with a list of what you need and check it off as you go, making sure you have the latest version of each document. Depending on your situation, these could be documents that pertain to you, your loved one or both of you.
Here are some possible items:
- Bank and brokerage account information
- Deeds and mortgage papers
- Insurance policies
- Monthly or outstanding bills
- Pension and other retirement benefits
- Social Security payment information
- Stock and bond certificates
Put them all together in one folder so you have quick and easy access as you start to review your options for funding senior living. Better yet, scan and convert everything to electronic files and store them on a secure platform.
Download our Financial Planning for Retirement Living Guide.
2. Make it a family affair
If your discussion about funding senior living relates to a parent or older relative, you’ll probably find everyone in the family has a different viewpoint. That’s why it’s a good idea to enlist their help from the beginning. Start by scheduling an in-person meeting with everyone, or a video call if others do not live in the area. Make a list of what you want to cover and be sure to give everyone a chance to make their thoughts known. Encourage open discussion that educates everyone on the status and needs of the person in question.
For example, Mom is showing signs of cognitive decline and most likely will need memory care. Or has anyone noticed that Dad is no longer joining us for family meals? Let each person have a chance to chime in; it’s possible some siblings aren’t aware of a parent’s change of needs.
Next, bring up finances. List which obligations you have determined will need to be covered — household bills, insurance premiums, taxes, investment decisions, selling property and anything else that comes to mind. Before your meeting ends, summarize the major points and agree on who will follow up on specific issues. Schedule the next call or meeting to review what was discovered, as well as next steps.
3. Talk to the experts
Consider choosing a professional who specializes in elder law and/or long-term care planning. They are well versed in an array of options for funding senior living, such as reverse mortgages, life insurance conversion, Veterans’ benefits and more.
In an article entitled “Why Elder Law Attorneys Aren’t Just For Seniors,” Aging Care Editor Ashley Huntsberry-Lett explains that attorneys focus on the legal needs of seniors. They handle general estate planning issues, and counsel clients about planning for incapacity with alternate decision-making documents, like living wills and power of attorney. Working with someone with this expertise can give you peace of mind, ease your family’s worries, and protect your financial interests and assets.
When you meet with this person, be sure to cover the following:
- Insurance options
- Pension, retirement benefits and personal property that may be potential income
- Programs in which you are eligible
- Potential tax deductions
- Analyzing investment portfolio with our loved one’s long-term needs in mind
Taking the time to organize your information and share your concerns with your family will go a long way as you move forward. Funding senior living need not be a daunting process—it can help open the door to peace of mind and wellbeing for you or your loved one.
Senior living, the LSS Senior Living way
At LSS Senior Living, our goal is to offer seniors quality care and comfort in a friendly and warm environment that feels like home. We offer a continuum of services to lend a helping hand when you need them. Find out more about our communities: