Prior to COVID-19 when we heard “independent living”, “assisted living”, and “nursing home” we thought of seniors happily living out their retirements with communal dining and game nights. Now we hear of those places and we think of isolation, fear, and sickness. Due to staffing shortages, lack of protective gear and close living quarters with constant contact, the very places meant to keep our seniors safe are quite possibly the worst places to be.
COVID-19 in Nursing Homes
Last year no one thought much of the strange cases of pneumonia being reported in China. In early January the outbreak was given a name, but still not much care. By late January the first case was reported in the US, and by February the virus had found its way into the first US nursing home and caused the first reported US death.
As of Monday 2,300 facilities in 37 states reported cases of COVID-19, and 3,600 deaths have been linked to long-term care facilities. In New Jersey they are reporting that 324 of the state’s 375 nursing homes have confirmed cases. Wayne County, in Michigan, says 35% of their COVID-19 deaths have been nursing home residents. And in Washington, where the first nursing home case was, they have officially reported 220+ deaths in long-term care facilities.
How to Afford Care out of a Facility
Mike Skiens is president of MasterCare America, Inc., one of the nation’s leading long-term care solutions firms. He says COVID-19 is a wakeup call for all Americans, in particular those interested in long-term care planning. Skiens, who has been in the industry for 20+ years, talks about the long-term care insurance of today providing comprehensive coverage, meaning an individual can receive care where they choose, whether in a facility or in their home. Today’s policies provide the same amount of benefits no matter where the care is given, providing peace of mind in a world where care facilities are seemingly unstable.
"Long-term care insurance allows people the freedom, flexibility, and choice to stay at home and receive care from people they trust the most."
“Now, more than ever, it’s essential to plan for your future,” Skiens says. “Long-term care insurance has always been about protecting people during their most vulnerable years in retirement. Now with the threat of this pandemic and possibly more to come, it’s essential people plan for care in the safest environment. Long-term care insurance allows people the freedom, flexibility, and choice to stay at home and receive care from people they trust the most.”
Long-Term Care Insurance Includes Home Health Care
One of the greatest things about long-term care insurance is that it allows you to be in control. As a policy holder you get to choose where to receive care, what type of care you want, and who provides it. Most people choose home health care. Home health care can start with something as small as homemaker services and go all the way up to 24-hour skilled nursing.
Nathan Sanow, Executive Director of LTC Consumer, says home health care is consistently one of the most misunderstood parts of a long-term care insurance policy by the public. He says 70% of people on claim right now are receiving care in their homes, which is where everyone wants to stay right now given what’s going on. Home health care can provide help with daily tasks, preparing meals, getting dressed, transportation to doctor’s appointments, administering medications, monitoring vitals, or rehabilitation support.
Speak to a Specialist About Your Options
The good news is, by planning now, if you experience a long-term care event in your retirement, the right kind of insurance coverage will pay for care in the comfort and safety of your own home. You won’t have to be isolated in one little room with cafeteria meals being delivered to your doorstep. Your exposure to infections will be minuscule. You’ll sleep in the comfort of your own bed, in your own house, in your own neighborhood.
"The good news is, by planning now, if you experience a long-term care event in your retirement, the right kind of insurance coverage will pay for care in the comfort and safety of your own home."
If you are interested in how you qualify for your own home health care options, speak to a specialist and get a quote today. LTC Consumer is an independent, online resource to help individuals understand long-term care planning and evaluate the best solution for their long-term care needs.