Preparing for Long-Term Care

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The most important and fundamental questions when considering the possibility that your loved one will need extended care, possibly sooner than later:

• Who will provide the needed care?
• How will that care be paid for?

Uncertain how to fully answer these questions? Assets and Aging can help!

• Assistance in determining the appropriate level of care
• Assistance with choosing specific facilities or caregivers
• Guidance on paying for the selected level of care sustainability

The prospect of Long Term Care can certainly be a daunting one, but the unsurprising truth is it is a grim reality for most families. Over 60% of all Americans will need long-term care at some point. The average nursing home stay is nearly 3 years. Nursing home costs in California can run as high as $7-9,000 per month.

You do the math.

If you have a loved one advancing in years who appears to be deteriorating mentally and/or physically, beginning to prepare for the likelihood that individual will need some kind of ongoing care at some point in the future is a courageous and practical first step towards making everyone’s lives a lot easier in the future.

If you are uncertain whether your aging spouse, parent or grandparent is exhibiting signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s, please visit this page for information on recognizing symptoms.

Ascertaining the appropriate level of care is a critical first step, and should only be decided after weighing many factors, from available or proximate facilities and their capabilities, amenities and costs to the specific medical or practical needs of the person in need of care. Does the individual need long-term or rehabilitative care? Is round-the-clock care needed? With which specific ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living) does the individual need help? Will an Assisted Living Facility or Nursing Home be more appropriate for the person and his/her needs? Is In-Home Care an option, financially or practically? If so, will a professional caregiver be hired? Will a family member administer the care?

Once the appropriate level of care has been selected, the challenge of choosing a specific facility or caregiver is next. Please click HERE for a primer on visiting and considering care facility options. In the extremely common situation where care is outsourced to either a facility or hired professional, the enormity of the expense must be planned for. In the also common situation where care is handled by a member (or members) of the family exclusively, planning is equally important and too often overlooked.

Holding a Family Conference to put an actual plan to paper and get everyone on the same page is always an advisable step. Execution of a Personal Care Contract is also worth considering in these situation, as often there are no means of compensation for the devoted caregiver built into unofficial arrangements. Not to mention, when compensation does happen with no formal agreement in place, well-meaning caregivers can be at risk of elder abuse complaint or investigation. Formal signed agreements between family members can be awkward or even seem silly in many cases, but they are a huge deterrent to confusion and drama when the unexpected happens.

Finally, and obviously, deciding how the chosen level of care will be paid for is equally crucial, especially given the enormity of this type of expense over time. Remember that physical and mental deterioration in old age is pretty much a one-way process. It isn’t going to magically get better, the need for care isn’t going to suddenly go away. What assets and/or income is available to you or your loved one to pay for (what will probably be a few years’ worth of) extended care? Are there savings accounts, IRAs, pensions or securities of any kind? What about income, perhaps from social security or the VA or investments? What about long-term care insurance? If not these options, then what benefits are available to the person in question? Is he/she Medi-Cal eligible? A veteran (or spouse of a veteran)? Are there any other state or federal benefits to which he/she is entitled? If you allow yourself to be blindsided by a sudden need for long-term care in your family, you will not like the consequences. Please contact us today for help figuring out how to best proceed in your situation.