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    As parents begin to age, here are a few key eldercare costs to consider and tips to help you proactively provide for your aging parent without breaking your budget.
    Eldercare is difficult to plan for because costs vary depending on specific health issues. Long-term insurance policies differ on benefits and coverage. If your loved one has an insurance policy, understand what expenses will be covered and what expenses will not.
    When considering healthcare options, find out whether your parent is or will be eligible for Medicare and Medicaid and how these benefits programs may help offset costs. For example, Medicare may only pay for up to 100 days of skilled nursing home care. This benefit applies only if the elderly person has had a minimum three-day hospital stay and is then transferred to a nursing care facility.
    On the other hand, Medicaid will pay for nursing home care only if the elderly person meets certain financial requirements determined by each state’s plan and vary depending on whether the person is single or married.
    While housing and/or assisted living costs may vary based on Medicaid assistance, the type of services required and other factors, the average cost of living in a private, one-bedroom assisted living facility in the United States is $3,750 per month, according to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey; the national median rate for in-home care is $22 per hour. If your parent owns a home, one option for paying for assisted living is to sell or rent it.
    In addition to help from Medicare and/or Medicaid, if your loved one has an annual income of less than 50 percent of your area’s median income, adjusted for household size, he or she might qualify for Department of Housing and Urban Development 202 and Section 8 senior housing.
    If your aging parent stays at home, you may need to retrofit parts of the house to make it more accessible. This could be as simple as moving their bedroom to the first floor, but it could also require building entrance ramps and making bathrooms handicap accessible.
    Some organizations may offer minor home improvement services free of charge. Research what options are available to you to help with the cost.
    Kristin Smith is Vice President, Trust Advisor for Regions Bank Private Wealth Management.
    You can contact her at kristinb.smith@regions.com.
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