Nearing retirement might mean a stay in a nursing home

Every day 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 and not all are prepared for retirement, much less long-term care.

A 2017 study by the research organization the Rand Corp. found that 56 percent of Americans between 57 and 61 will spend time in a nursing home during their lifetime.

Chris Cowart, owner of Home Care Options in Pearland, said folks who sent their kids off to college and took care of their own parents, didn't prepare for their own health.

"Many of these are facing these nursing homes now. And, many of them are footing the bill because no one was prepared for the cost that happened," said Cowart.

He said people should be buying long-term care insurance when they’re between 28-40 years old, while it's still affordable, especially if there's a history of family disease.

"Let's say you're 65 now. You can't afford long-term care insurance. It's not worth it. The premiums would be $1,000 a month," said Cowart.

He said buying long-term care insurance is pointless if you're 65, or older because of outrageous premiums.

Some folks near retirement age are downsizing and selling their home to get the equity to buy an annuity to cover daily living not covered by health living in a nursing home.

Cowart said you need to find an agent who sells long-term care insurance. It's a specialty item that not all agents sell. Also, talk to a financial advisor to see if the cost of buying long-term care insurance is worth the actual benefit.

Retirement planning:

• Downsize home

• Wean your kids off the payroll

• Understanding long-term care insurance—daily living not covered by health insurance, Medicare or disability insurance. It does include moving into a nursing home, or having a health provider come to your home.

• Exploring your financial options

• Plan ahead EARLY

If you’re ready to start your planning:

• Consider your unique needs

• Know the costs (Genworth reports the median cost of private rooms in a nursing home is $8,365 per month, the median cost at an assisted living facility is $4,000 per month and the median cost for home health aides is $4,195 per month.) The U.S. Department of Health and Services states the average woman needs care 3.7 years and the average man needs it 2.2 years.

• Buy what you can

• Consider your ultimate goals

• Get a financial professional who you trust

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