Seniors can tap home equity for income but they may need to save it for long-term care instead

Depending on the circumstances, sometimes the best financial backstop in the event of long-term care is the family home.

One of the sobering “what ifs” for older workers planning for retirement is the risk of having an injury or an illness that requires long-term care.

The financial consequences can be severe. Last year the national average expense for a one-bedroom unit in an assisted-living facility was $3,628 a month, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The average for a shared room in a nursing home was $6,844 a month.

Consumers can manage the risk by buying long-term-care insurance, but it’s not cheap, either. The average annual premium for a healthy couple at age 55 was $2,466 in 2012, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. Older consumers pay more.



get updates