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Take Charge of Your Future

Paying for Long-Term Care

Learn the basics about who covers what

State programs and services can help you stay in your home by providing home-delivered meals, transportation and housekeeping chores. Contact Eldercare.gov to find out what's available near you.

Faith-based groups and health-related organizations also offer similar services, as well as support groups and people who drop by for a friendly visit. Call your place of worship and contact the local chapter of organizations such as the American Diabetes Association or the Alzheimer's Association.

Long-term care insurance is specifically designed to cover some of the costs — but do your homework because long-term care insurance is not the right option for everyone. People with limited incomes, or people whose incomes will be significantly lower after retirement, might not be able to afford the cost of insurance premiums over a long period of time. Compare a number of policies from different insurers, read the details and ask your insurance agent a lot of questions. In his column about whether long-term care insurance is right for you, AARP financial expert Jonathan Pond discusses what options to consider before purchasing insurance.

A reverse mortgage lets you tap into your home's equity to pay for long-term care. You do not have to pay back this loan as long as you continue to live in your home. These agreements can also be complicated, so be sure to have your financial adviser review the plan. Go to AARP's reverse mortgage page for additional information and expert advice. 

Another option for some people is a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). These communities provide supportive housing, assisted living and nursing care on one campus. Some CCRCs offer a life care agreement: You pay a large entry fee in addition to a regular monthly fee. As your needs increase, you start to receive more care, but your monthly fee stays about the same. Here, too, review the contract carefully with a trusted financial or legal adviser. AARP expert Elinor Ginzler offers several tips on housing options in "Which Type of Housing Is Best for You?"

You may also like: Take Charge of Your Future.

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