Aging Options

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Weekly Round-Up for 6/30/12

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Long Term Care Insurance.  Only 10 percent of the elderly have a private long-term care insurance plan, and because coverage under these plans is often limited, only 4 percent of long-term care expenditures are paid by private insurance, while fully one-third of expenditures are paid out-of-pocket.  Long-term care expenditures represent a significant financial risk for the elderly. A 65-year-old woman has a 44 percent chance of entering a nursing home during her lifetime and, upon entering, faces an average stay of two years. Long-term care is extremely expensive – the average rate for a semi-private room in a nursing home is about $90,000 per year in Washington state.   (see The Economic Bureau of Economic Research for more details).

The question here is whether you should buy the policy or not, and if you choose not to buy then what are your long term care options.

Social Security Statements ONLINE!  Did you know you can get your social security statement online?  In a cost cutting move Social Security first eliminated the paper statements that were being mailed out to all citizens.  But then it reinstated the paper statements for those 60 and over.  It is important for you to see your statement regularly for two reasons: one to check to make sure your earnings are being properly reported; and two, to review when to start your social security payments.  Click here to get your statement online.

Reverse mortgages are getting more popular as people are living  longer and investment returns have dwindled.  The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) has launched an education campaign on the issue.  Though it is another elaborate sales pitch, the  tools it provides do have merit and can be used to review the viability of the product in your individual case.  For individuals who have planned around aging in place and  have made sure that they will not have to move even if incapacity strikes, a reverse mortgage is an excellent way to access locked equity in the home; but if you are looking at a reverse mortgage knowing that you will be moving sometime in future from the current home, this is a BAD choice to make.  Click here to see the amount you can obtain using the reverse mortgage and to calculate the costs involved.

Legal rights of residents with dementia acting out on sexual urges in retirement communities is going to become a bigger issue.  There is truly no legal barrier to a resident having consensual sexual relationships in a nursing home, but the staff generally discourage such activity for many different reasons.  Whatever the reasons, there are calls for residents to be able to exercise their legal right to have intimate relations with whoever they desire to have such a relationship with and it would certainly be a violation of one’s legal rights to be interfered with in the exercise of the legal right.  But the issue is not that simple.  Here is an excellent article on the issue in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

Supreme Court Decision on health care laws.  Although it is a heated topic, healthcare reform is here to stay, for now.  Argue all you want, it is a fact.  Take your concerns about its affordability to the polls come election time, but for now, understand what it does for you. So, what would be most productive is to sit down and understand what the law does for you and how you can benefit.   Focus on what is in your control and let go of what is not.  What is in your control is to take advantage of the rules and regulations, seeing as you are going to be paying for it.  Here is one source of analysis – Wall Street Journal.  Off course, stay tuned to AgingOptions for regular updates and news about your legal rights under the new health laws.  Click here to get your copy of the actual decision (in PDF).



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