Memory Care Facility Opens in Austin

A new memory care assisted living facility opened in Austin, Texas this month.

Facility Accommodates Growing Population

The epidemic of Alzheimer’s sweeping the nation isn’t going to get better anytime soon. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates Alzheimer’s and other cases of dementia will triple by 2050, affecting more than 15 million Americans.

This explosion in cases has led to a problem: there aren’t enough facilities equipped to deal with dementia patients. Many dementia patients end up living in regular nursing homes. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it can lead to isolation of the patients. If the staff is busy taking care of multiple patients at a time, patients with dementia can easily be alone for most of the day. This lack of social interaction is problematic as it is a risk factor for dementia. This means if a patient already has dementia and is not engaging in social activities, the risk of the disease worsening increases.

Focus on Dementia

The Silverado Senior Living-Onion Creek opened in early May and is now the company’s 8th facility in Texas that focuses on dementia patients. The community strives to provide care that is specific to each individual and focus on the strengths that the patients possess rather than their deficiencies. CEO Loren Shook explained how Silverado Senior Living Communities has “created a culture that is really supportive of everyone we touch,” he said.

The center has features that are quite different from regular nursing homes including 24 hour visiting hours, pet therapy, and drug reduction efforts. The center wants to decrease the high number of drugs that most residents are on to improve patient health and cut costs. Shook told Impact News that “in a typical long-term care situation, a resident may be on 10 to 12 prescriptions on average,” but Silverado Senior Living centers “have an average of 5.7 prescriptions throughout the company”.

Dementia and Long Term Care in Texas

Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are the leading reasons for needing long term care services. Many assisted living facilities have set up separate memory care wings. Texas has two of the top five markets for memory care units under construction, according to Chris McGraw, a senior research analyst at NIC who tracks the construction of different industry facilities in top metro areas.

The median annual cost for an assisted living facility in Texas is just around $40,000 according to Genworth Financial, a leading provider of Long Term Care Insurance. Most people cannot afford to pay these costs out of pocket, especially given the average benefit period of long term care is 3 years.

Long Term Care Insurance provides a reliable way to protect your assets from being exhausted by health and long term care costs. LTCI helps cover the cost of long term care, ensuring you receive the quality care you deserve. Read more about how Alzheimer’s affects Texans here.

Top Three Reasons People Don’t Plan for Long Term Care in Retirement

Planning for retirement is something every one thinks about. Choosing a retirement destination, managing retirement accounts, and ensuring there will be adequate income during those years are common actions for people in their 40s and 50s who are looking further down the road towards their future. Planning for long term care, though, is often left out of the equation.

Long Term Care Myths

Somehow, many people plan their retirement quite meticulously, but forget to factor in one of the biggest costs that can hit during retirement: long term health care. There are several different reasons this occurs, and much of it relies on three large myths that exist. People tend to think that someone else will take care of long term care for them, so they don’t bother to do it themselves. Read three of the top reasons people put off planning for long term care below.

1)    If I need long term care, I can depend on a family member or friend to provide it.

This is a nice thought, but it’s a premise based on fantasy. Unless you have explicitly discussed this potential situation with a family member or friend already and they have agreed to provide care for you later in life, don’t count on this. Families spread out all over the country and are often states or countries away, which means they are unable to provide care if and when you may need it. Some family members may be able to provide some care, but just because it doesn’t cost any money doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost anything. Family caregiving is an exhausting, emotionally stressful job that places the caregiver under a lot of stress and responsibility and often leads to guilt on the part of the individual receiving care. Again, unless you have discussed specifics with someone about this type of arrangement, don’t count on someone else to provide you care.

2)    If I need long term care, Medicare will foot the bill.

Another nice thought, but it doesn’t quite turn out as most people expect. A survey conducted last year found that more than 1/3 of adult Americans believe Medicare covers the cost of long term care. In reality, Medicare will only pay for your care if you have a qualifying 3-day hospital inpatient stay. Even then, they will only pay for care for a short period of time, anywhere between 20 to 100 days, depending on your insurance. If you need care for longer than 100 days, you are back at square one, on your own. Neither the federal or state governments have programs set up to address the cost of long term care, so don’t count that as your plan, because it really isn’t a plan at all.

3)    If I need long term care, I can self-insure and cover the cost myself. 

While this might ring true for a few select people, for the majority of Americans, this assumption is dead wrong. Long term care is expensive and the latest Genworth Cost of Care Survey shows just how expensive. One year of care in a nursing home costs an average of more than $87,000. If you live in the Northeast or the West, count on your bill to be much higher than that, possibly even double. The fact is, most people don’t even have enough assets saved to get them through retirement without long term care. If long term care were to enter the situation, their assets would be wiped out. It’s impossible to predict if you will need care and how long you will need it for, so relying on your hard earned assets to cover that cost is a huge gamble. Unless you have several million dollars saved for retirement, self-insuring is not a wise idea.

Make Your Own Plan

Relying on any of these beliefs when it comes to planning for long term care can be dangerous. Unfortunately, most Americans are doing just that. Whether it’s because they think they can’t afford a Long Term Care Insurance policy or they simply aren’t aware of the need for one, few people are truly prepared for the cost of long term care.

Long Term Care Insurance policies can still be quite affordable, especially when you compare it to the actual cost of care. This type of insurance provides tremendous benefits to policyholders; in fact, the industry pays out more than $11 billion in benefits every year. If you are looking for a solid way to shield your assets from the cost of long term care, consider buying a Long Term Care Insurance policy. For a free quote, fill out this form and we will be in touch shortly.

Betting on Your House for Retirement? Bet Again

I’ve noticed talk lately about the different ways people plan to use their assets to fund their retirement. Some of the ideas are great and some are a stretch.

One of these ideas that seems to be pushing the limits of realistic possibilities is that of using your housing assets as your main retirement plan.

Using Your House as a Financial Plan

Betting on the value of your house for your retirement income might sound tempting, but it’s probably not the soundest solution to your financial worries. Granted, the value of your house may have increased over time, so you think selling it in several years and downsizing is a great opportunity to cash in a lot of extra money. There are other aspects of that situation to consider, though, as mentioned in a recent commentary piece.

Besides the fact that home value fluctuates often and it is not a sure bet in any way, shape, or form, it’s also crucial to remember that if the value of your house has gone up, it’s likely that other costs have risen, too.

Even if the asset value of your home has doubled since you moved in, chances are so have the cost of living and the cost of health care. Is that really a risk you are willing to take?

Big Costs in Retirement

In Texas, one year in a nursing home will cost you an average of $61,320. That number might seem like a feasible amount to cover, but that’s certainly not the only external cost you will be facing. Fidelity estimates that the average 65-year-old couple retiring in 2013 will need $220,000 just to cover health care costs that aren’t included in Medicare benefits.

Dental health, eye exams, over the counter medication, and of course, long term care, are much more expensive than most people plan for, and assuming your home asset will cover the costs is a big risk.

If costs are higher than you expected, you end up needing long term care, and your house can’t cover it all, chances are you will have to turn to an unpaid family caregiver or spend down your assets to qualify for Medicaid. Are you really willing to take that gamble?

A Different Solution

Instead of betting your retirement on your house, look for more tangible, reliable options like Long Term Care Insurance. The amount that policyholders pay into their plans is typically quite minimal to the actual cost of care, which is only projected to increase.

Investing in a policy and transferring that huge financial risk can be a smart move for those who can afford premiums. Read more about Long Term Care Insurance in Texas and how it can help you not only keep your home, but receive care there, too.

If you are interested in receiving a personalized quote of the top Long Term Care Insurance companies, please fill out this form and we will be in touch with you shortly to discuss your options and send you information in the mail to review on your own time, with no pressure.

The Cost of Long Term Care in Texas – Can You Afford to Self-Insure?

Self-insuring for long term care is a pretty common topic in the news these days, but how can you know if it’s the right decision for you or not? The truth is, self-insuring is really only possible for a small and specific group of people. It isn’t the best idea for most people, and there are a few reasons why.

Cost of Care

If you’ve looked into the cost of long term care, you know it’s expensive. Quite expensive, actually. In Texas, the average annual cost of a nursing home is $61,320. Surprisingly, that’s on the low end of the spectrum when you consider the average nationwide cost of more than $83,000.

So, if you need nursing home care in Texas for just one year, you should expect to have a good bit more than $50,000 set aside just for the base cost of care.

Most people simply don’t have that kind of money stowed away in their retirement savings. In fact, most people haven’t saved any money for long term care at all. They’ve saved for retirement itself, but retirement is full of other necessary costs that most certainly come before long term care, because chances are you won’t need care until you are in your 70s or 80s.


So who can self-insure for long term care? In all honesty, those with more than several million dollars in assets stowed away are really the only group of people who can successfully self-insure for such a large cost.

The rest of us may think we can, but when the time comes to pay for care, we may end up dipping much farther into our savings than originally intended. This is a mistake many people make, after being told by financial advisors that self-insuring is a better choice than Long Term Care Insurance.

The amount that you would pay in Long Term Care Insurance premiums is typically significantly less than the actual cost of care, so for most people, purchasing a policy is what makes the most sense. Not every one can afford Long Term Care Insurance, but for those who can, and there are many ways to make it work, it is a wise investment worth considering.

Long Term Care Insurance

The cost of Long Term Care Insurance varies widely from carrier to carrier, which is why it’s so important to shop the market before deciding on a policy. If you don’t bother comparing multiple companies, you could end up paying 50-100% more than you would if you did some more thorough research. We help consumers shop the market by sending them a free comparison of all the top Long Term Care Insurance companies.

Understanding each company’s rate increase history and financial ratings is paramount to understanding the risk of your premiums increasing later on. There is always that possibility, but in reality, most people will still opt to keep their policy and reduce their benefits because the value of the policy is still so high.

If you are advised to self-insure for long term care, seriously consider the cost that includes and whether or not you have the extra assets to afford it. Many people don’t and end up waiting too long to realize that fact.

If you would like your own personalized quote comparison, fill out this form and we will be in touch with you shortly. We emphasize a no-pressure process so the consumer feels they are getting all the information without being pushed towards any certain product. It’s crucial that you feel educated and informed about the topic before making any final decision. Read more about long term care in Texas or request your free quote now.

How Genworth Handles Policyholder Services

In a recent short video about Genworth’s Long Term Care Insurance division, President and CEO Tom McInerney addressed the company’s approach to policyholder services.

Consumer Needs

McInerney expressed what a fantastic job Genworth does of meeting the needs of consumers looking to get coverage for long term care. They also perform well when the consumer is in the most need, which is when they are actually making a claim.

Genworth has a great reputation in the industry, according to McInerney, of paying claims reliably and helping guide claimants through the entire process. Whether that means explaining the benefits, helping initiate the claim, or choosing the right care setting, Genworth strives to help customers in a quick, efficient, and friendly manner.

Planning for Long Term Care

Long Term Care Insurance is something that more Americans need to be thinking about, as our life spans continue to get longer and the chances of needing care continue to go up. According to government estimates, 7 in 10 American seniors will need long term care at some point, so this isn’t a tiny risk we are talking about.

Planning for long term care can make all the difference in retirement, when spending anywhere from $40,000 to $80,000 a year for care simply isn’t feasible. Transferring that huge financial risk to the insurance company is a wise decision for anyone with a nest egg to protect.

Find Out More

Read more about planning for long term care or if you are interested in a quote, request one now. We will be in touch with you shortly to help you navigate the many different options for long term care and provide you with all the information necessary for you to make the most informed decision possible.

Harvard Report Addresses Caregiver Burden Amidst Rise in Long Term Care

Unpaid care is the main source of long term care in the United States and with an increasing need for care comes an increasing burden on caregivers. A recent Harvard report tackles the issue of caregiver burden and its potential effects.

Long Term Caregivers

According to the report, an estimated 43.5 million friends and family are currently acting as unpaid caregivers for their loved ones. Although the majority of Americans aren’t prepared for the risk of becoming or needing a caregiver, an estimated 7 in 10 seniors will need long term care at some point. 9 in 10 of those that receive long term care receive it from a friend or family member and most long term care takes place at home.

When it comes to unpaid care giving, there is often some sort of burden involved. The objectives of the report, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last month, were to outline the epidemiology of caregiver burden and provide strategies for physicians to help those with caregiver burden.


The study published in JAMA found that most caregivers are women who spend between 20 and 40 hours every week providing care. Women are more likely to be caregivers because they have longer life expectancies, meaning they are more likely to be around to provide care when their spouse or partner needs it. 20% of all caregivers spend more than 40 hours each week providing care to a friend or family member. Though this time spent providing care takes some physical and emotional tolls on the caregiver, the report noted caregiver burden is often overlooked by clinicians.

When providing long term care to a loved one, many different effects occur in the caregiver’s life. Common ones include physical or emotional exhaustion, financial troubles, missing work, and becoming socially isolated. The Harvard study found that 32% of caregivers have high caregiver burden, which can often manifest itself by way of depression, social isolation, illness, and financial problems. The authors of the study recommend that in addition to checking the health of the patient during a clinic visit, physicians should also check the caregiver’s health.

“Most physicians haven’t been trained to ask patients about it, and it’s a new clinical habit that you have to consciously adopt and work on,” says geriatrician Dr. Anne Fabiny, medical editor of Caregiver’s Handbook, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.

Assessing Caregiver Burden

Ways to assess the health of the caregiver is asking how they are coping with the responsibility of being a caregiver, how they would describe their quality of life, how often they get out and engage in social activity, and other similar questions. The answers clinicians receive can help them direct the caregiver to resources that can provide help or temporary respite when necessary.

The average dementia patient receives unpaid care valued at $56,290  from friends and family members each year. As the need for long term care grows across the nation, the number of available caregivers continues to shrink.

An AARP report found that the ratio of available caregivers to long term care recipient is estimated to drop to 4:1 in 2030, down from 7:1 in 2010. This coupled with the fact that the number of Americans aged 85 and older will double between 2000 and 2030 means planning for long term care must become a priority before it becomes an overwhelming financial problem for the nation.

Long Term Care Insurance can help those with assets hedge their risk of needing care and protect their nest egg from the growing cost of care. Long Term Care Insurance isn’t right for every one, but it is often right for those with retirement savings not meant to be spent on health care.

Read more about planning for long term care or if you are interested in learning more about the cost of a policy, request a free quote today.

Long Term Care Insurance Helps Texans Remain in Their Homes

A recent report ranked Texas as the state with the worst nursing homes in the country, causing people all across the state to rally in support of improving the many long term care facilities in the Lone Star State.

As many people fight to find quality nursing homes and improve the standard of care statewide, others are turning to different solutions to receive their long term care.

Home Sweet Home 

Long term care brings about a lot of changes, physically and emotionally. Whether you need care from a recent surgery, a fall, stroke, or Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, transitioning into long term care can be stressful. Moving into a facility can add to this stress if the patient is reluctant to leave the comfort of the home they have lived in for years.

Fortunately, nursing homes and assisted living facilities aren’t the only care setting available for long term care patients. In-home care has become increasingly popular over the years, for obvious reasons. Receiving care in your own home retains a sense of normalcy that moving into a facility typically can disrupt. Rather than completely changing your life, you can stay where you are happiest and feel most at ease.

There’s no denying the cost of long term care in Texas is exceedingly expensive, and the majority of people can’t afford to pay out-of-pocket. According to Genworth, one of the top long term care insurance providers, the median cost of in-home care in Texas is $41,184 annually. Even 1 year of care can substantially impact your retirement savings and leave you in financial disarray. Long term care insurance provides a way to safeguard against this risk by protecting your assets from the cost of care and providing the option of in-home care.

Facing the Cost of Care

While none of us really know if we will ever need long term care or not, the fact is, the risk of financial fallout associated with the cost of care is too severe to ignore. This fact has become more apparent to the Baby Boomer population, many of whom are currently dealing with the care of their aging parents.

An important key to purchasing this type of insurance is buying the right amount of coverage at the right time. Applying for a policy when you are in your 40s or 50s will help you save a substantial amount of money compared to if you wait to apply until your 60s. This is because age and health both play a large role in what premium rate you are assigned. Texans in good health are likely to qualify for a discount from the top companies.

Long term care insurance policies from the top companies typically offer the option of in-home health care, instead of facility care. This care, which is substantially cheaper than facility care, can help you avoid exhausting your policy as quickly and keep you happier during your time of care. Some companies even offer home modifications and installation of emergency response systems to keep you as safe as possible in your home environment.

Be sure to work with an independent agent who has experience with the top providers and can help you determine whether or not your chosen policy offers in-home care. If you are interested in learning more about a policy, request a quote and we will contact you shortly.

Ombudsman Programs Help Long Term Care Residents

When the time comes for someone to need long term care, it is typically because they are unable to perform some daily tasks on their own. Bathing, dressing, cooking, food preparation, and getting around with ease are some of the activities that people are likely to need help with when they are in a long term care setting.

Nursing Homes

For those individuals who need more supervised care, nursing homes are often the choice. Medical assistance is provided more readily at nursing homes, so the patients tend to be more incapacitated, either mentally or physically, than those living at assisted living facilities or receiving long term care at home.

This unique situation of need leads to a great deal of vulnerability for these seniors receiving care. Many whom do not have family or whose family lives across the country spend their days without someone checking in on them to be sure everything is alright. Unfortunately, this leaves many opportunities open for neglect and sometimes even elder abuse.

In order to reduce elder abuse and nursing home neglect as much as possible, programs have been created that designate advocates for nursing home residents who might otherwise be unable to speak up for themselves.


The Long Term Care Ombudsman program was started in 1978 and provide advocates for nursing home residents. These ombudsman volunteers spend time in long term care facilities working with patients to best understand their situations and needs.

The volunteers understand what works best for nursing home patients and help advocate for quality care and life in long term care settings.

Ombudsmans are responsible for identifying, investigating, and resolving any complaints made in nursing homes. This means they are often the people that nursing home residents rely on in a time of need, when they feel they have no one else. This program is invaluable to those elderly residents who might otherwise be without a voice in the situation.

Texas Program

The Texas long term care ombudsman program is part of the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services.

The Texas Long Term Care Partnership Plan helps provide Texans with long term care insurance that is tax-deductible and qualifies for a Medicaid spend down waiver should you ever exhaust your long term care policy.

Plan ahead for the future and the possibility that you might need care at home or in a nursing home one day. Read more about long term care in Texas.

Shopping for Long Term Care Insurance Made Easy

We speak with consumers every day, most of them interested in buying a Long Term Care Insurance policy. What we find is that many of them are overwhelmed or confused by their various options and therefore less willing to make a decision. That’s why we put so much time and effort into helping educate consumers about the different options and why it’s so important to plan ahead.

Shopping for Long Term Care Insurance is one thing that seems to be intimidating to people. Not only do they have to think about themselves as old and fragile, but it also involves some financial decisions that require some consideration. This often ends up in people shying away from planning for long term care, often until it is too late.

Navigating the Buying Process

Shopping for Long Term Care Insurance doesn’t have to be hard; in fact, it shouldn’t be hard. After beginning the buying process, many people often end up kicking the can down the road. We want to provide information that helps consumers stop procrastinating and instead start taking action and preparing for their future. If you are looking into a Long Term Care Insurance policy, consider these ways to make shopping easier.

1)    Work with an independent agent – The importance of this cannot be emphasized enough. Some agents are what are called “captive” agents, meaning they are paid by companies to promote specific products. Even if one company’s policy fit your needs better, that agent might push you to buy another one because that would mean commission for them. It’s vital to work with an independent agent who can provide you with information from multiple companies and isn’t biased towards one or another.

2)    Compare multiple companies – This goes along with #1, but is so important it deserves another mention. Premium rates can vary as much as and sometimes more than 50% between carriers, so never go with the first policy option you see. Make sure you look at several different companies before you make a decision to buy, and make sure they are top rated blue chip companies.

3)    Start early – Don’t wait until you are in your 60s to start looking at policies. By then, it may be too late to qualify. Even if you can qualify, your premium rates will be much higher than if you’d applied at a younger age, say 50 or 55. Age has a big impact on the cost of a policy, so don’t overlook the importance of applying when you are young. Buying younger can also help you achieve the preferred health discount. Qualification criteria varies from company to company for the health discount, so again, look at several companies to see if you qualify for any before choosing a product.

Plan for the Future

For some reason, Americans are planning for retirement but leaving out the huge issue of long term care in their plans. Doing so can put your nest egg in jeopardy and put you at risk of turning to a family or friend to provide care later down the road. Long Term Care Insurance can help protect your assets and provide you with peace of mind during retirement, so don’t let the process of looking into policies scare you away.

Shopping for Long Term Care Insurance, if done with the right people, can be simple and easy to understand. Work with an agent who has experience in the industry to ensure you are getting the most accurate information.

We provide unbiased information on the top Long Term Care Insurance companies including their financial rating, rate increase history, and policy details. If you would like a free quote comparison, fill out this form and we will be in touch with you shortly.

Texas Alzheimer’s Cases to Increase One-Third By 2025

The number of Alzheimer’s cases in Texas is estimated to increase by one-third by the year 2025, according to the 2013 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Figures report.

Alzheimer’s and Seniors in Texas

There are currently 2.6 million seniors living in Texas and that number is expected to double by 2030.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia in the United States, with more than 5 million people currently afflicted by the disease. The average cost of Alzheimer’s in the United States is between $157 and $215 billion annually. In the past year, it has surpassed cancer and cardiovascular disease as the most expensive illness in the nation.

Alzheimer’s Research in Texas and Beyond

While there is no cure to Alzheimer’s, many studies are being done throughout Texas in an attempt to decode the mysterious disease. One Dallas couple participated in one of many Alzheimer’s research studies at UT Southwestern in an attempt to slow cognitive decline.

The Texas Alzheimer’s Research and Care Consortium (TARCC) is an organization with physical sites around Texas that works to “improve early diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Caring for Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s

In Texas alone, 1.3 million caregivers provided 1.5 billion hours of unpaid care in 2012, valued at $18.2 billion, according to the recent report. While many family members volunteer to care for their loved one, it can quickly become overwhelming. According to a recent study, Americans who have been caregivers for loved ones called it both worthwhile and stressful.

If in-home care from loved ones isn’t an option, nursing homes are usually the next choice. The Texas Long Term Care Partnership program estimates the average cost of a private room in a nursing home is over $61,000 a year. Most people cannot afford to pay these costs of out pocket, and may end up exhausting their assets and eventually, relying on Medicaid.

Is There a Solution?

Long Term Care Insurance can’t help you avoid Alzheimer’s, but it can help you pay for treatment and care. A government study estimates 7 in 10 seniors will need Long Term Care at some point.

Investing in Long Term Care Insurance and planning for your future ensures that you do not burden loved ones with the task of your care. It will also help you protect your hard earned assets by avoiding the high cost of nursing homes or paid in-home care.

Texas provides many great Long Term Care Insurance policies through their Partnership program. Read more here.