For most people, daily activities seem trivial – we often take our ability to complete basic tasks without issue for granted. However, many things can happen to inhibit our ability to completely care for ourselves like injury, illness, or inability. In fact, the average life expectancy in the US is increasing and many people may live to an age where additional help becomes a necessity to maintain quality of life. While living independently is the ideal, the future is not predictable. Long-term care planning, however, is crucial in preserving your quality of life in case of an accident or advanced age.
What is Long-Term Care?
Long-term care (LTC) refers to a range of services and support that a person needs for an extended period of time to maintain their current health state. This may be due to serious illness, disability, or advanced age.
About two-thirds of Americans will need some form of long-term care to help with activities like walking, bathing or dressing as they become strenuous when dealing with diseases such as Parkinson’s or arthritis are present. While nursing homes and continuing care communities are often associated with long-term care, the majority of client care happens at home.
It is impossible to predict if and when you will need long-term care, which is why you must plan for it when you can!
What is included in LTC Planning?
The majority of LTC involves support for common tasks such as bathing and using the toilet. It also includes other assistance on housework, managing money, taking medication and caring for pets.
If you are unable to perform these activities on your own, an extra hand is needed.
Longtermcare.acl.gov is a great resource for learning more about LTC and we’ve shared a few of their facts below to help start your planning journey:
Homecare is the preferred long-term care option for most people
You are more likely to need LTC if you live alone
Unplanned long-term care will eat a large part of your savings
Your current insurance plan is likely limited in their coverage
Your best option for staying independent is by planning for LTC ahead of time
Give yourself peace of mind and create a plan to deal with life’s uncertainties.
Benefits of LTC Planning
1. It is more cost effective
Paying for health or personal care from your pocket on a long-term basis is expensive. Even if you currently have insurance, chances are its coverage is limited. Planning for long-term care gives you an opportunity to create a robust care plan at a less expensive rate.
2. Lighten the stress on loved ones
It can be difficult to determine the best option for a person needing LTC care. Your plan will spell out your preferences so there is no guilt or conflict when making decisions on your behalf. A concrete plan will also ensure that you require less of their time and resources, allowing you all to spend more quality time together, free from worry.
3. More Choices and Options
Planning for LTC is very educational and allows you to learn more about various care services available in your community and how to finance them using insurance. Your LTC decisions will be balanced and more beneficial when you are not under pressure.
What Should You Plan For?
You should discuss your health preferences with your family in case you fall seriously ill. Take time to appoint who would take over your health decisions as part of advanced healthcare directives.
Where you live for long-term care influences your health and wellbeing. As you age, your residence should provide support for your needs. Your house may need to be modified to help you live comfortably. Some injuries or emergencies may also require moving temporarily or permanently to a healthcare facility. Make such decisions easier by discussing it with your loved ones early.
Take some time to consider how your finances should be managed and who should have power of attorney. Options for financing your long-term care whether through Medicare, pensions, insurance, or a combination should be pre-planned.
Long-term care planning related to medicine or finance is quite complex and you may require the services of an experienced elder care attorney to create a plan, living will, or give a loved one the power of attorney.
Most insurance options available, similar to Medicare, only cover short-term and skilled medical care. LTC and informal care are not usually covered. Medigap and disability insurance are designed to cover some of the gaps left by Medicare.
With a long-term care plan, important life decisions can be settled ahead of time. Empower your loved ones to feel confident in helping care for you should you need it. It’s time to put a plan in place. In-home care services, like those provided by ameriCARE, are a great place to start your planning process. Reach out to your ameriCARE location today.