Column: The costs of care as you age

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Commentary by Lisa Dillman

I can’t tell you how often I have clients come in who have scrimped and saved for retirement, only to realize they are burning through their nest eggs at an alarming rate as they age.

It’s not cheap to grow old gracefully in the U.S. That’s why it’s important to seek good advice before a health crisis hits and all your money is gone. The mental and financial costs of caring for senior citizens are enormous, but they can be mitigated through careful planning with an elder law attorney.

The costs

The average daily rate for nursing home care in Indiana is $217 a day, or roughly $6,510 a month for a private room. Assisted Living in Indiana also is pricey, with the average cost being about $4,100 a month for basic care such as medication and meal reminders. Costs rise quickly if you add in help with eating, bathing or medication administration.

Most of my clients, and the majority of Americans, want to stay in their homes as they age. In-home care costs an average of more than $22 per hour, with most agencies requiring a three-hour minimum per visit. If an individual needed around the clock care in their home, their average monthly costs would be $15,840.

It’s not just the actual care costs that impact seniors and their families. The average caregiver spends 13 hours a month researching resources for their loved one. Many caregivers also take time off work to care for their loved ones, which means they sacrifice income or have to take valuable vacation time.

Planning for aging

A long-term care plan provides asset protection solutions so that individuals’ hard-earned savings are not depleted, and clients can receive the care they need. Planning also takes the burden off loved ones.

It may take a small amount of effort up front, but planning will help you avoid the hours of scrambling to find care as your needs change and the spending of unnecessary money. I tell my clients they are never too young to seek out a qualified professional to help ensure their golden years aren’t tarnished.

Lisa Dillman is the managing attorney at Applegate & Dillman Elder Law. The firm specializes in elder law and Life Care Planning, a holistic approach to deal with the legal, financial, medical and emotional issues involved in growing older. The firm has offices in Indianapolis, Carmel and Zionsville. Find out more at applegate-dillman.com.


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