October is National Long-Term Care Planning Month, meaning now is a good time to start planning for long-term care needs – for your aging parents, elderly family members and even yourself.
What is long-term care?
“Long-term care” can include many different types of care. It mostly refers to the non-medical care that focuses on assistance with daily tasks such as bathing, eating, and dressing. Depending on one’s living situation, long-term care can also include housework, grocery shopping, or financial management.
When seeking long-term care, it is important to ask for a definition, as different care providers, insurers, and even family members may have deviating interpretations.
For additional information on planning for long-term care, LongTermCare.gov provides beneficial information to prepare you for the future.
Why do I need to plan for long-term care?
Everyone should plan for long-term care. Getting your long-term care in order before you need it will alleviate future stresses and mitigate burdens. When dealing with aging family members, old age can cause unforeseen problems like memory loss that will make it harder to work out complicated issues. For yourself, as difficult as the conversations may be, long-term care planning should be done now and updated as major life events occur. The earlier you begin discussing your plans, the easier they can be to alter, prepare for, and execute.
How do I plan for long-term care?
Long-term care needs affect more than just you. You may become dependent on your spouse, children or others, so it is important to include them in the planning process. They will play a roll in your personal, medical, financial and legal planning.
Personal: Evaluate your current living situation. Is it in good condition? Note potential hazards such as stairs, accessibility, and mobility as renovations may need to occur if you are planning on aging in place.
Medical: The time will come when you or your loved ones can no longer make medical decisions independently. Establishing a medical power of attorney ensures that someone will look after your wellbeing when you may no longer be able to do so.
Financial: Much like a medical power of attorney, a financial power of attorney can manage your bank accounts, investments and more with your best interest at heart.
Legal: Caring for your, or a loved one’s, medical and financial responsibility can require complex paperwork and documents. It may be necessary to bring in legal counsel to ensure everything is managed the way you planned.
How do I pay for long-term care?
Planning for long-term care now can save burdens of cost later in life. Talk with a professional about what is covered by your insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Coverage and eligibility can vary from state to state, so it is important to understand qualifications when planning your options.
According to AARP, “Employer-based health coverage will not pay for daily, extended care services. Medicare will cover a short stay in a nursing home, or a limited amount of at-home care, but only under very strict conditions. To help cover potential long-term care expenses, some people choose to buy long-term care insurance.”
When planning, it is important that long-term care is defined, and accepted, by both your insurer and your care providers.
Who can help with my long-term care needs?
Long-term care can be provided by family members, professional caregivers, or facilities. Like much of life, it takes a team to work through difficult decisions and navigate financial, medical and personal affairs.
If you are looking to arrange long-term care, Assisting Hands Home Care is happy to work with you and your family to find the best care that fits the needs of all involved.