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The costs of long-term care for seniors

The thought of paying for their long-term care can create a lot of financial anxiety for many families in New York. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration on Aging, most individuals who are older than 65 will need some form of assistance with daily activities like bathing and dressing for at least a few years in their lives. While many people will be able to get care for free from family members, others will need to pay for caregivers, which can be very expensive.

More than a third of seniors will need to get care in a nursing home, where the median cost for a private room is more than $100,000 per year. About 40% will opt for receiving care within their own homes, and this can cost as much as $50,000 per year. Unfortunately, Medicare and most private insurance policies do not cover these expenses, so families are on their own to come up with the money.

Long-term care insurance is one way that families can prepare financially for the chance that a loved one will need care at an assisted living facility or home. There also are hybrid policies that combine life insurance or annuities with long-term care insurance. In some circumstances, a senior can use the equity in his or her home to pay for care. Medicaid may be available for very low-income seniors with no assets.

Families who are worried about long-term care planning can get some valuable support and guidance from a lawyer who practices elder law. An attorney will evaluate the needs of their client and recommend estate planning tools, such as wills, trusts and power of attorney, that help preserve assets while making sure funds are available for long-term care.

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