Funding Options For Senior Care
The cost of senior care varies as much as the types of care available and the degree of assistance you or a loved one may need.
In this segment, Comfort Keepers will review some of the more common funding options for home care, retirement homes, and long term care services. Senior care can range from a few hours a week of personal or companionship care by a home care provider, to full-time home care, to skilled nursing care in a nursing home.
How much does home care cost?
Our services vary in cost depending on your individual plan of care. A Comfort Keeper’s Client Care Specialist will meet with you and your family to develop a plan of care that meets your home care needs and your budget.
Do I have to pay for home care myself?
Comfort Keepers can discuss with you and explain how to access alternative ways to pay for home care. Your local Ottawa office can help you to investigate if you are eligible for care funding through your personal or group insurance coverage. They can also help you contact a representative from your local Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) government home care program.
For some, income tax relief may be available. For example, the cost of our services may be offset by the Federal Disability Tax Credit, Medical Expense Credit, Caregiver Tax Credit and/or Credit for Infirm Dependents. In general, for most taxpayers, the cost of our services is tax deductible if a medical doctor recommends the use of such a service. Our Comfort Keepers office can provide you general information about these programs, however, for specific tax advice you should contact Canada Revenue Agency or your financial advisor.
Taking advantage of all sources of funding for home care is important as it can allow your loved ones to obtain the maximum amount of care they need.
The Financial Impact of Family Caregivers
At first glance, the cost of professional home care may look greater than it truly is. That is, until family caregivers honestly consider the value of the time and financial sacrifices made to care for a loved one.
If you are a family caregiver, you understand that the responsibility requires a considerable amount of your time—time and attention your loved one deserves. As a caregiver you get phone calls at all times, day and night. You coordinate transportation to and from medical appointments, grocery shopping, and other errands. You have another home to clean. You are the one who helps pay bills, provides companionship, and takes care of other tasks as needed. And you do this in addition to the other responsibilities you have, such as your job and family.
Chances are to get everything done that needs to be done, you have had to reduce your hours at work. Maybe you have cut back to part-time employment and passed up a promotion.
These lost opportunities to earn a living have a real impact on your financial situation now and in the future, when it comes time to retire. Considering these lost opportunities, take another look at the quotes you have been given to hire a professional home care provider. With this in mind, the cost of having a qualified and insured home care agency assume caregiving tasks does not seem that high.
When you work with a reputable home care agency, you will still be in charge of the care that is being provided your loved one. You just will not be responsible for the time-consuming day-to-day caregiving responsibilities. You will have peace of mind knowing your loved one is receiving proper care, while you can go about taking care of your own life.
If you have been avoiding it, now is the time to determine the financial impact that home care can make on your life. You may find that allowing others to do the job is a smart financial decision.
Long Term Care Insurance
Long term care insurance can help seniors pay the costs of long term care, helping to avoid depletion of life savings for extended care. However, coverage is expensive. Premiums increase the older you are when you buy it. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that policies purchased at age 65 average $1,800 a year for four years of comprehensive coverage and $5,900 a year when purchased at age 79.
For those earning ample income, premiums can be affordable, but you need to make sure you will still be able to pay the premium after you retire. And even if you can, you may not be able to justify the expense if you have the resources to pay for care out of pocket. Your financial planner can help guide you in this decision.
Not all long term insurance policies are created equal, so be sure you know what you are buying:
Some policies cover only specific types of long term care, while others will cover a variety, such as nursing home, assisted living or home care.
Know up front to what degree premiums may increase over time. Also be aware that premiums vary by the number of covered years. Lifetime coverage can be very expensive. When making this decision, the Kaiser Family Foundation advises, consider that “people between age 65 and 94 who enter a nursing home stay, on average, two and a half years, while 90% stay less than four years.”
Many long term care policies have an “elimination period,” that is, a waiting time during which the covered individual must pay for his own care. The longer the elimination period, the lower the premium.
Know what percentage of daily care costs your policy will cover, and realize that inflation will increase the costs. Inflation protection is commonly sold as a rider for long term care insurance.