Although nursing homes exist in almost every community across the United States, most of us fail to recognize that we may need long-term care as we age. This is troubling for two reasons. First, a significant portion of the population will end up in a nursing home. While some studies indicate that an individual who is age 65 runs a 35 percent chance of staying in a nursing home at some point in their life, other studies find that the risk is much higher.

The second reason is that the cost of long-term care can be staggering. Generally speaking, only the wealthy are able to pay for long-term care on their own. Other individuals are left to find other sources of payment. This may include long-term care insurance, but only a little more than 10 percent of the population has opted to purchase these plans. Medicaid may help pay for a significant portion of one’s long-term care needs, but it won’t be enough, and those who receive it will have to jump through the hoops that accompany a government program.

Why is this a problem? Simply put, long-term care is beyond expensive. The estimated yearly cost of a nursing home stay can ring in at more than $97,000 on average. Since women typically live longer than men, they may incur more costs as they may need more time spent in nursing homes.

What does this mean for New Yorkers? It means that they need to be prepared for the reality that very well may await them in the future. They need to understand the costs they and their families may be facing, as well as the options that may be available to help them cover those expenses. By discussing the matter with an experienced attorney, New Yorkers and their families may be able to develop a care plan that fits their needs, provides security and puts their minds at ease.