One of the joys of retirement is the ability to travel. But you may not have Medicare coverage where you go. The rules for traveling outside the United States, and even outside your local network, are very strict and can be very limiting. Learn about the general coverage options for original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Part D plans. Also gain tips about purchasing travel insurance.
Solo aging: Eyes wide open
Aging comes to us all. What makes solo aging different is the need to be more proactive about arranging for help. Twenty-two percent of older adults acknowledge they will need to take care of themselves. (Even if you are partnered now or have children, you are wise to consider the possibility of solo aging because, well, things can change … death, divorce, estrangement. In that light, we are all potential solo agers.)
How to pay for long-term care
Most people are surprised to learn that Medicare pays for only a limited amount of the daily care you are likely to need in your lifetime (about 14%).
Medicare covers only services delivered by medically trained professionals. That means you need to have savings or insurance and rely on a collection of local programs. Or family and friends who may be able to pitch in with labor or funds.
Choosing a home care provider
Allowing a stranger into your home can leave you feeling quite vulnerable. It’s important that you trust the individual and the company that does the background checks, verifies training, and puts together the schedule.
You also need to interview each company to find out pricing and minimum number of hours, and to see if they have independent quality ratings.
Choosing a long-term care facility
Choosing an assisted living community, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), or a memory care facility is a big decision. You want to get unbiased recommendations for a good match from the start.
Assembling your support team
Your elder care support team will include friends and family, health care providers, and professional advisors. An Aging Life Care Manager can help you select wisely and coordinate these services effectively.
Paying for care at home
How you pay for care at home depends on whether the service is by medically trained staff or by nonmedical caregivers. Also, what you can mix and match in terms of community programs and help from friends and family.
Medicare pays only for care in the home that requires the skills of a nurse, nursing assistant, physical therapist, or other medically trained professionals.
Medical emergencies: Are you prepared?
Accidents by their very nature are unplanned. That doesn’t mean you need to be unprepared for a fall or a serious incident (e.g., a heart attack or stroke).
Those who are prepared and have a professional advocate, such as an Aging Life Care Manager, are more likely to get the care and the outcomes they desire. Plus, they can recuperate in a setting most in line with their personal needs and preferences.
What is an Aging Life Care™ Manager?
Imagine your life as a movie. If you are the director, an Aging Life Care™ Manager is your production manager.
He or she is a deeply knowledgeable guide (usually a nurse, social worker, or allied professional) who finds you high-quality help, arranges care “locations,” and advises you about needed services.
Aging Life Care Managers are part of a national organization with training requirements, codes of ethics, and a nationwide network of experienced colleagues in case you need to move to a different part of the country.
Types of long-term care
In your elderhood, it may be that your best, most affordable option is a group care setting. Learn the difference between assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing (rehab), a nursing home, and a continuing care community (aka life plan community).
Support is available for those who wish to stay at home. However, one-on-one care is expensive. And it’s not always easy to find caregivers. Community services can sometimes be patched together.
To stay at home, it helps to have a knowledgeable person check in periodically who knows eligibility requirements and can supervise and coordinate all the players.