Q? Everything is so expensive these days! How will I ever be able to pay for the services that I need as I get older?

A. It is true that services for seniors can prove to be very expensive. Many people will find that financial resources may be tight if proper planning is not initiated early in retirement years. For those who need services and have depleted resources, various government programs are available to help close the gap between available resources and care needs. Long term care insurance is also a great option that should be evaluated.

Q? I would love to be able to stay at home for the rest of my life. What services are available to help me accomplish that?

A. Surveys find that well over 90% of Americans will choose to stay at home if there is any way possible to manage. There are numerous home and community based services that make this possible. It is important for seniors who want to stay at home that professionals be engaged to evaluate surroundings and develop a care plan that will make sure the senior can continue to live a safe, secure and productive life.

Q? The reality is I may not be able to stay at home forever. So what are my housing options if I cannot?

A. There are generally four types of senior housing. Active Adult communities are designed for that very active senior who is still completely independent, but enjoys a community surrounded by peers with amenities that most seniors would appreciate. Independent Living is a congregate housing option where residents are still active, but also find additional services such as meal preparation and housekeeping very helpful to continued independence. Assisted Living is designed for seniors who need assistance with one or more activities of daily living such as bathing, grooming or toileting. Finally, Nursing Homes are designed for those who need the accommodation of 24-hour nursing care. Nursing Homes are often temporary rehab locations for seniors recovering from falls or other injuries.

Q? Medicare is so complex. Are there resources readily available to help me understand what my benefits really are and if I am taking maximum advantage of those benefits?

A. Absolutely! There are a number of resources available that can help you understand the complexities of Medicare. Particularly confusing for many seniors has been the prescription drug benefit. This is an important part of the Medicare program and expert advice may be necessary to pick the right plan for you. Resources are available locally to help you evaluate your best options.