Long-Term Care Planning
The majority of us in our middle age don’t dwell on the idea that one day we may be incapable of taking care of ourselves, or that those we love may eventually be incapable of living on their own. Whether you’ve begun planning or not the truth remains that a lot of us will require some sort of long-term care as we get older. The reality is that as life expectancies increase and the population ages many of us will required help with even the most basic everyday activities.
Too often, when we are young, long-term care planning is pushed to the back burner until we are face to face with this eventual reality. It’s then when we realize just how challenging and expensive long-term care and planning really are. Those of us who have come to grips with these facts and have begun preparing for the golden years, when life may be a bit more challenging, will ultimately make life easier for themselves and their loved ones.
The unfortunate truth is that, even just broaching the topic of long-term care planning can be difficult. So where do we start and how to do find the resources and information we need to achieve some level of comfort or peace of mind. We hope to outline some steps that you can take when planning and discussing for long-term care.
1. Get Educated
Google, it. Do your research and get educated about all the possibilities for support and care that may be available. Depending where you are in life there are different tools that you may be able to leverage to support you throughout the process. There are numerous long-term care options that provide different levels of assistance depending on your requirements. Understanding what level of assistance is provided will help you make the best decision for you or your loved ones. For example, someone who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s would be better off at an assisted living community that focuses on memory care.
Some of different options available include:
- In-home care- as the name implies, this form of care takes place in the home and may be provided by friends, relatives, neighbor, or a professional caregiver.
- Adult Daycare- this form of care takes place in a group setting. Adult daycare maybe community or facility-based and services can include meals, health assistance, and recreational or social activities.</.li>
- Assisted living- An assisted living residence or assisted living facility is a housing facility for people with disabilities or for adults who cannot or chose not to live independently.
- Nursing Homes- provide around-the-clock nursing care for elderly people. With 24hr nursing care available. These facilities may also provide short-term rehabilitation stays after illness, injury or surgery. These facilities may offer memory care services or have a separate division dedicated to memory care.
2. Find out what is available in your area
Once you have a better understanding of the options available to you the next step would be to find out what facilities are available in your area and their reputation. There are a number of resources that will can help you locate facilities in your area. It’s a good idea to research these locations in as many resources as possible, pay close attention to actual patient of family reviews. Often times these reviews will provide insight on the actual level of care that you may not get from a facility website.
3. Plan for the Cost
Long-term care is not free. The cost of care depends on the type of care required and some options may be more expensive than others. For example, a nursing home may be more expensive compared to in-home care. There may be a number of options that can help pay for the cost of long-term care.
- Private based financial options like long-term care insurance
- Government assisted health insurance programs like Medicaid and Medicare.
- Veterans benefits
- Personal savings or investments
4. Know your healthcare wishes and make a plan
Most people, when faced with questions about their medical treatment towards the end of their lives, usually don’t know what to answer. It is important to be part of the decision process regarding your health wishes when you become older. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, they propose an advance directive which is written instructions for the purpose of reflecting a patient’s desires for health care. This will assist medical professionals in treating the patient in situations when the patient cannot speak for themselves. The Kaiser Family Foundation proposes that an Advance Directive should be included in patient’s file when they get admitted into an assisted living community or in a nursing home. The Advance Directive is likened to a living will, which clearly states the kind of medical treatment a patient would prefer in conditions when they are incapacitated or assign someone with the ability to make such decision when they cannot.
5. Share Your Medical wishes with your loved ones
After filling the advance directive or assigning someone with the medical power of attorney it is important you share this information with your kids or immediate family or someone who you hold dear to heart. This is necessary to set their mind at ease and make them aware of what to expect when you can no longer make decisions for yourself. This helps in preventing confusion, disagreement, or unnecessary questions regarding your decision. Let them in on all the decisions you have made concerning your long-term care like the type of care you wish to get, how you have planned to offset the cost and what you need them to do when the time comes.
6. Determine when its time
After making the necessary planning for long-term care the last step in the phase is to look out for signs that it is time for long-term care. Early signs are normal for you a patient to miss. When you conclude, it is time, share that information with your loved ones and let them know your decision to seek long-term care.