Long-Term Care Needs Planning Before It’s Too Late 

Editor’s Note: Hans E. Scheil, Cary resident and president of North Carolina-based Cardinal Retirement Planning, Inc., contributed to this article.
Cary, NC – Have you started planning for your retirement? If the answer is yes, then I applaud you! 

Now here is another question: While planning for your retirement have you included Long-Term Care? Again, if you answered yes, then you are more prepared than most, as less than 10 percent of eligible consumers own long-term care insurance. Unfortunately, most people don’t think about until it is too late. What type of care will you get if and when you need it? 

Get Prepared

I have had personal experience with this matter: Cary has several assisted living facilities and my mother lived in three of them between 2011 and 2014. Monthly costs for her care ranged from $5,000 to $8,000 with a total bill of $200,000 before she passed away in 2014.

Fortunately, she had a small long-term care insurance policy purchased in 1998 plus she qualified for Veterans Aid & Attendance for $1,788 monthly. Not all are so well covered. That was my motivation in writing the book, “The Complete Cardinal Guide to Planning for and Living in Retirement;” I am hoping to help people become better prepared. 
Counting on success

Understand Your Options 

There are numerous types of facilities across the area. Smaller facilities tend to operate as group homes. My mother ended her care at a smaller group home. These licensed facilities are often converted homes in residential neighborhoods that can give patients a more familiar experience. Medium-sized facilities generally have more residents and staff.

With the increased size you should expect some more group and social activities. Many facilities arrange for a monthly field trip or lunches at nearby restaurants. These activities can help keep the brain social and residents happier. 

The largest facilities tend to combine different levels of independent living and medical care. Many 55+ communities can offer independent living, assisted living, and memory care facilities under one company name and at one general location. This setup can provide continuous care should your medical needs progress to needing home healthcare assistants or round-the-clock care. Many of my clients enjoy having meal service and medical assistance on-site during their “slow-go” and “no-go” years. 

Make a Plan 

If you are still in the “go-go” years I want to encourage you to make a plan. Even a healthy retirement account can be bankrupted with annual withdrawals approaching $100,000. The risk of long-term care should not be swept under the carpet.


Hans E. Scheil, CFP, is the president of North Carolina-based Cardinal Retirement Planning, Inc. and the author of “The Complete Cardinal Guide to Planning for and Living in Retirement. Photos by Steven Depolo and Alan Cleaver.