Planning with Long-Term Care: In-Home and Community Based Services

Definition

Planning for long-term care is never easy, but it is often a reality that comes with aging. According to the National Academy of Science, more than 10 million Americans currently need some form of long-term care to remain in their homes. Many rely on community-based services or seek other financial options to pay for the high cost. 

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Introduction

No one wants to plan for long-term care, but it is often unavoidable. If a person wants to continue living a somewhat independent lifestyle, then plans must be made, especially if the senior starts to suffer from a chronic illness that requires some form of care from either a caregiver or a family member. Ideally, whatever plans that a senior opts to make should be undertaken well in advance of the need for long-term care. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that at least 70 percent of all seniors over the age of 65 will inevitably need some form of long-term care as they age. Activities of daily independent living that often require long-term care include basic personal tasks such as eating, dressing, using the toilet, bathing, incontinence care, and transferring to the bed, chair, or wheelchair. 

Medicaid remains the leading provider of long-term care for seniors. It covers most retirement home care and a variety in-home care services for eligible recipients. Unfortunately, many seniors simply do not meet the eligibility requirements for Medicaid. Ideally, seniors should start planning for the financial reality of long-term care plus explore the community-based services that are available in the area before the need arises. 

How to Plan for Long-Term Care

There are no easy solutions when it comes to planning for future care. Generally, it takes wise investments, insurance, a large bank account, and the assistance of community-based solutions. Without such options, many seniors will be unable to continue living an independent lifestyle in their own homes. They may be forced to move into a retirement home or seek out assisted living facilities. 

  • Paying for Long-Term Care: Relying on Medicaid to pay for long-term care is a risk because certain eligibility requirements must be met. A long-term care insurance policy is an option if the senior purchases it early and continues to pay the monthly premiums for several years before using the policy. It can be expensive, but it might be well worth the investment. A permanent life insurance policy is another option because it allows the senior to draw money out of the plan against the life insurance premium. Yes, the money will be subtracted from that to be bestowed on the senior’s beneficiary at the time of person’s death, but it can be well worth it if the senior needs to find a feasible way to pay for long-term care. Unfortunately, many elderly individuals balk at the thought of using their life insurance money if they are married, because they do not wish to leave their spouse destitute and unable to pay for funeral expenses. Annuities with long-term care built into the policy are another option. Certain care clauses are also often available as riders that can be attached to the annuity. 
  • Community-Based Services: Living in a home located in a bustling, easy to navigate area is ideal for a senior who is seeking community-based services to help if long-term care is required. The senior can rely on a local bus service to take them to and from medical appointments. Many communities offer a wealth of services that not only help with transportation, but also meals, bathing, house cleaning, landscaping, and many others daily chores. Traditional community services include adult day care services, care assessment, caregiver services, home health care services, friendly visitors, meals, homemaker services, and local senior centers that provide meals and other assistance options.
  • Family and Friends: A senior will need to start to evaluate how family and friends can help if they end up requiring long-term care. In many cases, children might live too far away to help their aging parents. In such a situation, the aging person might be forced to turn to friends for assistance. Other options include moving into a retirement community, living with family, home sharing with friends, adult foster care, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes. Often, the sale of the family home is enough to secure a small apartment in an assisted living facility or a nursing home. 
Conclusion

There is no time like the present to start planning for long-term care and exploring the local community-based options. Waiting until a senior is suffering from a chronic health condition is not ideal. Instead, care plans should be implemented early, so a senior does not have to face last-minute choices when they are not physically or mentally well enough to handle the task. Planning is highly beneficial and helps to secure the most ideal long-term care options. 

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