Managing the Cost of “Aging In Place”

According to this article, there will be 10,000 Americans turning 65 every day for the next 18 years. That population surge has created a whole new business sector for seniors wanting to “age in place” β€” which is a fancy way of saying they want to stay home and out of a nursing home.

In part, the drive to age in place comes from the high costs of nursing homes and the fact that seniors are living longer. In part, it’s a simple enough emotion: which of us would not rather spend our last years (however many of them remain) at home, surrounded by familiar things and familiar people, than in an institution surrounded by strangers, no matter how wonderful that facility might be.

The article is a good one, but I wish they spent a little time on the potential for abuse in that market. The elderly tend to be more susceptible to financial scams, especially when they suffer from the early stages of dementia. Who will be there to protect them? As seniors strive to remain independent, there is a danger that the older adults will eschew help from other family members or friends as they write out checks to cover these new services.

There is also some discussion about how large the market for these “aging in place” services is, estimating it might grow as large as $20 billion. However, for the market to get that large, seniors need to have the money to pay for the services that keep them aging in place. Where will they find that money?

Those who engage in Medicaid or VA planning to preserve assets against the costs of long-term care will find that they have more money available than if they didn’t plan β€” assuming, of course, that they don’t wait until the last minute to do planning. With Medicaid planning, older adults can make sure that they don’t spend their entire life savings (or everything but $2,000) on assisted living facilities or nursing homes.

There is also a great benefit to VA Aid & Attendance planning because we can help veterans, and the surviving spouses of veterans, find a monthly pension of up to $2,000 per month to help with unreimbursed medical expenses. That “found” money can be used on other services, like special music stations to help those facing Alzheimer’s or dementia, or transportation services.

Posted by Victor Medina, Medina Law Group & The New Jersey Estate Planning Center