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Aging at home is increasingly the preferred method of care for seniors these days. In fact, a recent study by the Associated Press and the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, found that 77% of adults ages 40 and over surveyed preferred aging at home. 

According to a 2014 study completed by the American Association of Retired People (AARP), 80% of respondents wanted to age in their homes instead of moving to an assisted living or continued care facility. Considering there will be an estimated 73 million seniors ages 65 and older in America by 2030, this represents a very large number of the national population. Luckily, now more than ever, senior care trends are moving towards supporting the elderly in this endeavor. 

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Between an ever-shifting investment market and a plethora of recent changes to the long-term care insurance industry, a continuing care retirement community (“CCRC”) may seem like a beneficial way to plan for your long-term care. After all, the annual median cost of an assisted living facility for 2015 in the US rang in at $43,200, while the annual median cost of private room nursing home care in the US reached $91,250. A continuing care community therefore allows you to purchase independent living housing with the promise of being able to move into an assisted living or nursing home if the need arises. 

According to AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC), approximately 7.5 million Americans care for loved ones age 49 or over for an average of 41 hours a week. What many of these caregivers are unaware of is that respite care exists that would allow them time off from the often around-the-clock services they are providing for their care recipients.

The true financial cost of long term care for caregivers can be a huge burden. No one wants to be dependent on someone else for everyday tasks, however, the truth is that almost 70% of Americans 65 years of age and older will need long term care at some point in their lives. Here is what you need to know about the real cost of long term care if you are a caregiver.

It is estimated that 44 million people eighteen years of age and older in the United States provide unpaid assistance to adults who are aging or have disabilities. The value of this unpaid group is almost double that of both the nursing home ($115 billion) and home health care industries ($43 billion), coming in at $306 billion annually. While this shows a remarkable amount of care for one’s family and community, evidence shows that most caregivers do not have the necessary support they need and are not prepared for what is required of them.

Dementia is a blanket term for memory loss and intellectual disabilities that interfere with daily tasks. However, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s Disease makes up 60-80% of all types of dementia cases. Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging though. While it is documented that those older in years may experience slower thinking and the occasional difficulty with remembering something in particular, Alzheimer’s is much more severe and needs careful monitoring. 

When people imagine long term care they often envision the elderly being cared for in nursing homes. However, research indicates that more often than not the reality of long term care does not actually reflect this image. In fact, there are several trends that are currently changing the face of long term care in America.

Do you have a plan for your long-term care when you become a senior? When the time comes and it finally becomes harder for you to perform daily activities on your own, it is important to know what you want to do. Will you move in with children or other relatives? Hire a caregiver to come to your home? Move to an assisted living facility? Go it alone for as long as possible? Whatever your decision it is important to understand the full physical, financial, and emotional impact on yourself and your loved ones.

Have you been a caregiver for a loved one who did not have insurance to pay for long term care and they relied solely on you for help? Did it impact your health, your lifestyle, or income? Would you have preferred that you could supervise the care instead?
Throughout their working years most people look forward to a long life, dream of what they want to do when they retire, and save with hopes that it will be a worry-free time for finances. However, while budgeting for retirement many people forget to account for one of the most important aspects of this special time in their lives: their long term care.

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