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If COVID Scared You Off Nursing Homes, Don’t Delay Your Financial Plan for Aging in Place


A lot of scary things happened during the COVID-19 pandemic, but one that looms large for a lot of people is the huge share of deaths that took place in nursing homes. A new brief from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College notes that the pandemic showed the lax infection control practices that plague nursing homes in both the U.S. and Canada. This could lead to more older people choosing to get care in their own homes instead of going into a nursing home. This requires planning, though.

For help planning your own retirement plans, consider working with a financial advisor.

COVID-19 Nursing Home Issues

Early in the pandemic, COVID-19 deaths were heavily concentrated older populations — specifically in nursing homes, according to the Boston College brief. In May 2020, for instance, more than 90% of COVID deaths among over 70 in Quebec happened in nursing homes. In the province of Ontario, it was more than 70%.

Another problem was that many nursing home workers left their posts during the pandemic due to the difficult conditions, making life inside the homes even more difficult.

This could have long-lasting effects on how people view nursing homes. According to an online survey conducted in Canada, 72% of respondents are less inclined towards nursing homes after the pandemic. The survey was taken in December 2020.

How to Prepare for a Retirement Without a Nursing Home

nursing homes covid

If you are one of those who are much less inclined to go into a nursing home — or to put your soon-to-be-aging parents into a home — there are other options, namely seeking in-home care. That will take some planning, though. Here are some of the ways you can plan so that you don’t have to use a nursing home:

1. Long-term Care Insurance

In-home care can cost a lot of money. You’ll need to make sure you can afford it, and that means thinking ahead. Long-term care insurance is a product that can help you get there. It works like any other insurance product. You’ll pay a monthly premium. In exchange, you will get a payout later in life.

Long-term care insurance can be used to pay for a variety of services. Make sure that in-home care is covered by your policy when you buy it; you don’t want to buy the policy thinking it will help you avoid a nursing home only to find out that it does not apply to in-home services.

2. Medicare

Medicare is a federal program designed to help older Americans with their healthcare costs. It doesn’t cover everything, but you should absolutely make sure you plan to sign up for Medicare on time when you get old enough.

3. Annuities

Annuities are another type of contract you make with an insurance company. You pay a premium when you are younger in exchange for payments later in life. Annuities create income in retirement, which can be useful for paying for services like in-home nursing care when you need it.

The Bottom Line

After the problems exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, more Americans and Canadians are weary of nursing homes. Avoiding needing to use one, though, takes a certain amount of planning and money. There are several ways to prepare for this, including long-term care insurance, Medicare and annuities.

Retirement Planning Tips

  • A financial advisor can help you get ready for whatever retirement plan you want to pursue. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • The most basic way to save for retirement is to use a workplace retirement plan like a 401(k). Make sure to take advantage of one if you have access.

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