One of the hard parts about long-term care planning is that you may not know how long you’re actually going to need that care. You’re planning for an open-ended event. There are major differences in cost if you spend six months in a nursing home versus spending six years.
The trouble, of course, is that you cannot know for sure. There are people all over the spectrum, from the elderly person who has a stroke and then spends a decade living in a center to the person who never goes at all and simply lives in their own home for their entire life.
That said, you can look at the averages and get some sense of what you should expect. A good way to plan is by making sure you’re at least ready for that average; if you don’t need to spend all of the funds you have, there’s nothing wrong with that. But at least you’re ready.
The average stay is 835 days
Though various studies with different data sets are going to bring about different results, one study put the average stay at 835 days. That’s a bit over two years and three months. If you’re working out those monthly costs, you can see that 27 months could grow very experience.
It’s also worth noting that some people in the reports had to go to an assisted living center and then moved to a nursing home for more intensive care. In fact, about 59% of those who choose an assisted living center as they age will, at some point, wind up in a nursing home. This is a common process and represents a greater cost between the two centers.
Adding up the variables
There are still a lot of factors to consider. What specific type of care will you need? What is your support system like? When may this happen — next year, five years from now, 10 years down the road? All of these play into the financial situation.
On the whole, though, you can see why long-term care planning is so important. The sooner you start, the better, so be sure you know what steps to take.