Most Belleville residents 80 years and older, who do not qualify for Medicaid, are not prepared to pay for long-term senior care, according to survey by a Belleville senior living center.
The Atrium of Belleville hopes to address this learning gap with a series of free workshops to help metro-east seniors and their families prepare for the cost of help with skilled care, such as bathing, dressing and cooking.
The first "Preparing Your Long-Term Care Financial Plan" workshop is at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at The Atrium, 201 South Belt West in Belleville. The class will include topics such as the cost of senior living, medical tax deduction and veterans benefits.
The Atrium planned the workshop after conducting a survey this month to confirm what nursing home officials already suspected: Seniors are not aware of all the options they have when it comes to financing skilled care.
"It was kind of shocking," said Megan Jones, executive director of The Atrium. "These people are 80 years old and they have no plans. They think they will be able to live at home, but sometimes that's not the case."
The survey of 200 Belleville residents, 80 years and older with $30,000 or more in retirement income, showed that:
* 63 percent did not know senior living costs qualify as a medical tax deduction;
* 72 percent did not have long-term care insurance;
* 82 percent were not interested in forming a long-term care plan.
Stephanie Harris, CEO of Arrow Senior Living Management, which manages The Atrium, said many people are in denial about aging and the aging process.
"We find a large amount of people who say, 'This isn't going to happen to me. I don't want to talk about it.' It most often takes a crisis to force them into considering a plan for their future -- and that's one of the worst points in time to do it."
The workshop is free and open to the public.
Contact reporter Jacqueline Lee at email@example.com or 239-2655. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/BNDBelleville.