Are You Ready for Your Future?

Aging & Long-term CareContributors: Ed Putnam, Bob Bakke

You have dreams and goals for your future — but unexpected health issues and their financial costs could hold you back if you’re not prepared. Is there anything you can do to help you achieve your goals? Actually, there is.

Are Your Body and Brain Fit?

The older we get, the less we take our health for granted. Maintaining physical health is among the top concerns for many older adults. And with good reason. Older adults who are physically active have lower mortality rates, higher levels of functional and cognitive health, and are less likely to have heart disease or Type 2 diabetes.1

Which is why it’s surprising that more older adults aren’t doing more to stay fit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 35-44% of adults 75 years or older are physically active, and only 28-34% of adults ages 65-74 are physically active.

Keeping mentally sharp is also a priority for seniors. An AARP survey found that 93% of respondents believe it’s very or extremely important to improve or maintain brain health. Yet not many of them were very aware of the different ways to go about doing that — physical exercise, learning new things, managing stress, eating right and being social.2

What Are You Doing About It?

“Throughout my life, I’ve recognized that we’re privileged to live a long life,” says Ed Putnam, a resident at Beacon Hill in Lombard, Illinois. “It requires taking advantage of good medical care and doing what I can to take care of myself.” Ed says that because he lives in a senior living community, he has plenty of opportunities to keep active in all areas of his life.

Senior Mental Health

He exercises his mind with Dakim BrainFitness, reading, speaking and woodworking. He’s working on strength, flexibility, range of motion and balance in the fitness center, and he stays social by being part of discussion groups and weekly worship. Since he chose to live at a Life Care community he says, “I’m more confident and understanding of my options and what I need to do to optimize my health and minimize my risk for diminished physical and mental capacity.”

So what are you doing to take care of yourself now so that your future is healthier? Ask yourself a few questions.

  • How often do I get some form of physical exercise?
  • What new skills am I learning?
  • How many times a week do I socialize with friends or family?
  • Do I feel stressed, anxious or depressed?
  • Is what I eat nutritious?

Can You Afford Tomorrow’s Health Expenses?

In addition to facing concerns about maintaining health, older adults are worried about paying for health care in the future. In fact, 74% of adults say one of their top fears in retirement is health care costs going out of control.3

It’s not hard to see why. Take a look at these numbers:

  • Medical expenses more than double between the ages of 70 and 90.4
  • 7 in 10 Americans over age 65 are likely to need long-term care services at some point in their lives.5
  • The median annual rates are $43,536 for residential assisted living, and $92,345 for private room nursing care.6

Having access to long-term care at a predictable rate is a key reason many seniors choose a senior living community with Life Care.

Bob Bakke, a resident of Friendship Village Bloomington, learned the importance of securing long-term care through being a caregiver for his mother-in-law. “I moved her from an apartment to a large community, then to their [skilled nursing], then to their Alzheimer’s unit for five additional years.” Bob’s wife also developed health problems, and he ultimately quit work to find the right diagnosis and treatment plan for her.

“Given these examples,” he says, “I knew I needed to anticipate various outcomes and act. Realizing I need a ‘life plan’ for all possible outcomes, my search led to Friendship Village.”

Ed Putnam also saw the need to make plans for his own long-term care. “I had the luxury of seeing my parents age gracefully at Beacon Hill in the 90s,” he says. “It inspired me to look for a community to have opportunities to age gracefully, too.”

The need for long-term care came sooner than he expected, however. Shortly after he and his wife moved in, she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. “Life Care was critical for us. We had to have a place with proper care. It was the best financial plan for us. If Beacon Hill didn’t have Life Care, I’d be looking for a place that did. Period.”

What Are You Doing About It?

Have you made plans to ensure you’ll have quality health care if you should ever need it? And do you know how you’ll pay for it? Ask yourself a few questions.

  • If I (or my significant other) have an unexpected health crisis, where will we receive care?
  • Am I sure I know what my regular and long-term care insurance will cover — and for how long?
  • What are the Medicare requirements and restrictions for long-term care?
  • Do I have enough income and savings to pay the typical annual costs for assisted living or long-term care?

How Life Care Can Help

A Life Care community can provide opportunities for you to take care of your body, mind and spirit, which helps you live better and potentially longer. You get to decide what you do — and when. And it’s all right there, convenient to your residence.

A Life Care agreement provides access to multiple levels of care, and the predictable rates can help protect you from many of the rising costs of health care. Which gives you a future that’s more secure in every way.

1. Physical Activity and Older Adults. World Health Organization Fact Sheet.
2. New AARP Survey Highlights Need for Holistic Approach to Staying Sharp
3. Health Care Costs in Retirement Survey, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., 2016
4. “Medical spending of the US elderly,” National Bureau of Economic Research, 2015.
5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
6. Genworth Cost of Care Survey, 2016