Long-term care is a necessary service needed for many families and their loved ones, but it can be extremely expensive. Not all long-term care services require a nursing home or assisted living facility. Many of these services are available at home, but again, they all come with cost that not all families can bear.
Here are some steps you and your family can take right now to plan for the potential for long-term care and before it's too late.
Step #1: Have a Conversation.
First and foremost, it is important to have a conversation as a family. About 25% of Americans that require medical treatment after they've become ill, disabled or terminal are unable to make the decisions about what kind of care they wish to receive. As difficult of a conversation as this may be, figure out if your family would prefer in-home care or if it may make more sense for a care facility. Part of this decision may also need to be based on the cost associated with these options, which leads to...
Step #2: Do Your Research.
There are a lot of different options for long-term care, but all require a little bit of research. Figuring out what options are available in your area and whether these facilities make sense for you and your family right now will help you put together a plan of action for when the time comes. Some things to consider when doing your research. First, don't rely solely on the internet and online reviews. Take the time to visit facilities and speak with their staff about what options are available. Another consideration is if you already know of a progressing illness (such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease), you may want to research facilities that specialize in the treatment of these particular illnesses.
Step #3: Consider Your Options for Financial Assistance.
A common belief that many people have is that Medicare will cover the costs associated with this long-term care. Medicare is the federal government's health insurance for individuals over the age of 65. And while it pays for short-term nursing or hospice care (and sometimes in-home healthcare if you meet certain requirements), it does not provide assistance for those that need what is known as "custodial care" or personal assistance for daily activities (such as eating, bathing, getting dressed, etc.).
Medicaid (known as Medi-Cal in California) is a government-assisted service for those with low-income and who meet certain requirements needed for care.
Outside of these options, there are other private pay options to consider, including long-term care insurance.
Step #4: Take Action Now.
The most important thing that you can do is to take action right now. More often than not, people put this type of planning off "for another day". There may be no immediate need or urgency, but you can see that you don't want to wait until there is a need or urgency for assisted living care. It's at that point that you may be stuck with having to go with an option out of urgency instead of a well thought out, planned option. It is recommended that long-term care insurance be purchased sometime during your mid-50's, which is another reason to consider making a plan for the future sooner than later.
The fact of the matter is, you may never know when illness or disability may impact you or your family. The best gift that you can do for all is to be proactive in your planning. We, at the law firm of Kavesh, Minor & Otis, have been assisting families and their loved ones now for over 37 years. Whether you are considering long-term care options or need to update or review your estate plan, we invite you to attend one of our upcoming free Living Trust Seminars. At the conclusion of the seminar, all attendees will be offered a free consultation to come in and meet with an attorney. This would be a great time to discuss what options to consider for long-term care. You can register to attend one of our seminars online or contact our main office at 1-800-756-5596. If you are unable to attend an upcoming seminar, please feel free to join our e-mail list and we will be sure to e-mail you of future seminar dates.