Live Wisely - September 9, 2020
by Amanda Ranowsky
“Fully define where you sit right now. If something happens, how will it play out, how will you access care and how will you pay for it?”
These words were spoken recently by Tom West, CLU, ChFC, AIF, Partner, Signature Estate Investment Advisors. Tom’s words are at the cornerstone of a recent webinar co-produced by Goodwin House Life Plan Communities and Goodwin House at Home.
Goodwin House emphasizes planning—as you may have noticed. It’s a regular theme in our blog posts and resources. In the face of an uncertain future, not knowing what life will look like after the pandemic ends, it’s more important than ever to have a plan.
Tom and fellow presenter Howard Gleckman, Senior Fellow at The Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., discussed ways that older adults can plan for long-term care, especially in light of the pandemic.
While the pandemic has certainly highlighted flaws within the system the U.S. uses to support and deliver care, big changes to the industry in the coming decades were expected long before the pandemic hit.
By 2030, all Baby Boomers will be over 65, and the U.S. Census Bureau projects that one in five Americans will be at retirement age. Soon after this milestone moment, the number of older adults will start to exceed the number of children for the first time in U.S. history.
According to Gleckman and West, this boom in the aging population will coincide with a shortage of healthcare workers. This factor will be key in choosing whom you will partner with as you age.
“Make sure you align yourself with employers who are paying above market wages and have higher retention rates,” West advised in a follow up Q&A. These organizations are better positioned to hire and retain the best employees, and staff tenure is key to knowing you’ll continue to build a bond with your caregivers.
It’s never too early to start planning for future long-term care needs. By thinking through your options before you need it, you’ll be assured that any care you may need will be covered financially, and delivered where and how you want it.
“Plan ahead, and communicate with your loved ones,” Gleckman advised. Drawing from personal family experience, he said that older adults cannot assume their loved ones know their wishes, especially given the myriad options available.
New models of senior living, including revisions to life plan communities and the development of stronger age-in-your-home programs, offer older adults many options.
Gleckman and West advise that you start your long-term care planning by considering the kind of future you’re most hopeful for. Do you want to age in place, remaining in your own home for as long as possible? Does the idea of a life plan community, where you have assured coverage and availability of higher levels of care, appeal to you? How do you want your care served? What are the costs associated with that care?
Once you establish these goals, you’ll be able to work out the strategies you need to follow to ensure your wishes are covered financially. One key strategy to consider is long-term care insurance.
Gleckman and West both urged careful consideration of existing long-term care policies – if your premiums are going up, you might want to think carefully before abandoning the policy. “Some of those old policies are great policies,” said Gleckman. Both he and West strongly suggest not dropping these policies, at least not without another plan in place. “Make sure you know what you’re going to do instead,” said West.
Curious to know more about long-term care planning and financing your future in a post-COVID world? Watch the full, hour-long webinar with Gleckman and West, West’s follow up Q&A, or start a conversation with a Goodwin House senior living counselor by contacting Sue Dolton or Karen Skeens at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sue leads our life plan community sales team and Karen leads our Goodwin House at Home team.
Goodwin House has hosted many webinars with experts on a variety of topics this year. Explore more of these webinars.
As Marketing & Communications Specialist, Amanda Ranowsky partners with colleagues throughout Goodwin House to tell our stories and raise brand awareness. From printed collateral to digital marketing, Amanda covers many bases. Before joining GHI, Amanda worked for a small, family-owned business where she gained experience in content marketing. Amanda’s creative expression extends beyond the office. She is an active member of community theater and chorus groups.