British Columbia is often seen as a haven for aging seniors. Beautiful scenery and mild winters draw retirees from across the country. When the time comes that seniors require more assistance in daily life or extensive medical care, both the government and private companies offer different levels of care to meet their health and lifestyle needs. Unfortunately, the first time most individuals or families encounter this system is when their emergent needs push beyond their individual or collective resources.
Navigating these unfamiliar support systems can be challenging. There is often a steep learning curve to understand not only the medical terminologies and pathologies of senior health and aging, but also the various care options available, and how to access them. Making choices for the well-being of oneself or a loved one is difficult and often combined with the pressure to make those decisions within a short time frame.
Once the medical decisions are made, families are then confronted with the question of how to finance that care. Private care services are often expensive, whereas government services costs are variable and income-tested through a formula. Information on how to calculate certain costs or mitigate expenses is hard to find. Determining how to fund care can add additional stress to seniors and families at a vulnerable time when they are less able to understand, process, and make informed choices.
In an Assisted Living retirement home, fees for in-patient care begin at 70% of a senior's after-tax income, to a maximum of $3,530 per month. For Long-Term Care, the fees rise to 80% of a senior’s after-tax income, to a monthly maximum of $3,575.50. Seniors must face not only the loss of a large portion of their income, but also grapple with profound changes to both their independence and physical autonomy. Proper financial planning and the use of tax strategies can reduce costs, leaving more money for additional senior services and to support other family members.
Our practice focuses on helping seniors and their caregivers navigate the BC care system by providing expertise, experience, guidance, and reassurance through a time of transition. We help many clients to understand both their private and public care options and counsel them through daunting and delicate care decisions. Through tax and financial planning, we help reduce care costs and help decrease the impact of high fees. We help individuals and families optimize their choices. We help reduce financial stress, but, more importantly, provide peace of mind when making the often difficult, yet essential care decisions for themselves and their loved ones.