Can You Make Your Future More Predictable?

Rising Health Care CostsContributors: Jane Baxter

It doesn’t take a crystal ball to predict that medical expenses will keep rising, especially as you age. Yet most people don’t have a plan in place to adequately deal with future health care needs and their costs.

Did You Know…?

  • Medical expenses more than double between the ages of 70 and 90.1
  • 72% of adults say one of their top fears in retirement is not having enough money to cover unplanned medical expenses.2
  • 70% of adults are worried about not having money to cover long-term care costs.3
  • 67% of Americans ages 40 and older have done little or no planning for their future care needs.4

Jane’s Story

Jane Baxter, a resident of Friendship Village of Bloomington, has seen firsthand what can happen if you don’t have a plan in place for unexpected health problems. Her stepfather had a stroke, and the family had to quickly find a place with quality skilled nursing care that was, hopefully, close enough for her mother to visit every day. It wasn’t easy, especially in that crisis situation.

She’s also seen her family members struggle to afford good health care. “Some have been in and out of work, and on unemployment,” she says. “They can’t work and can’t afford to get care unless they have to in a crisis.”

As a single woman in her early 70s, Jane didn’t want that kind of struggle and uncertainty in her life. “I wanted to be able to take care of myself,” she says. “I wanted to know what my [health care] costs would be – and to be prepared for those costs.”

Making the Life Care Choice

So Jane started her search for a senior living option that would let her keep living independently now and provide affordable long-term health care in the future.

“I had no idea what the different options were. I looked at other communities. Some had independent living, but you had to go to a different place for the health center or memory care. There was no advantage to being a resident there. And you had to pay the normal costs for care – daily rates can be exorbitant. At Friendship Village, it was all in one place with the assurance of the Life Care contract.”

In a community that offers Life Care, you have access to additional levels of care if you ever need them. You won’t have to scramble to find care during a crisis – you’ll know exactly where you’ll be. There are several types of Life Care contracts, which gives you flexible options, predictable below-market rates, and care you can rely on for life.

For Jane, the community’s good reputation was a compelling reason to consider Friendship Village. “But the Life Care plan was a defining moment to me,” she says. “Once I understood the facts and figures, nothing else made as much sense.”

Jane says she’s a worrier by nature. But now she can focus on other things. “Basically, it means I don’t have to worry. It’s much easier to plan a budget, and it takes the uncertainty out of end-of-life care,” she says. “I can spend my time doing other things – I volunteer in memory care, and I help the instructor in assisted living fitness classes.”

Why Consider Life Care Now?

Like many senior living residents enjoying life in their communities, Jane advises you to get started sooner than you think you need to. She says to start thinking about where you want to be in five years, rather than just flying by the seat of your pants and hoping for the best.

“I have some friends who know they need to plan, but they don’t do anything about it,” she says. “I encourage them to come visit me and see how great the community, accommodations, people and team members are. If you wait until you need it, it’s too late, and you’ve missed the best part of moving to a Life Care community. The feeling of isolation due to waiting until it is too late is frightening to me. The community of friends and neighbors, the feeling of having everything provided under one roof – I’m so glad I moved when I did. I love it here!”

For Jane, predictability, certainty and a rich, fulfilling lifestyle add up to a tremendous value that has made all the difference. And she’s convinced her family, too. Her mother recently moved in with her and will soon move to her own independent living apartment at Friendship Village.

1. “Medical spending of the US elderly,” National Bureau of Economic Research, 2015
2. Health Care Costs in Retirement Survey, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., 2016
3. Health Care Costs in Retirement Survey, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., 2016
4. AP-NORC Center Long-Term Care Poll, 2017