Just about every long-term care advocate says the best time to start thinking about this service is long before you need it.
In some cases, it may mean starting the process years earlier, even when someone is in their 40s or 50s and they’re feeling great about their health and their future and don’t need a caregiver or RN.
The team at Accredited Home Care works with a variety of clients who have long-term care needs. They still want their independence and are able to live at home, but welcome regular visits from home health nurses and other employees.
Some people are in poor health so they may be encouraged to stay at a long-term care facility that has more medical support. These facilities do offer some benefits such as access to social activities but some people crave their independence as much as possible or having to move and give up their home.
But whichever outcome is chosen, it can come with a specific price, which is why some experts recommend starting the fund-raising and planning process early.
That way, there’s more time to put a larger fund together, and less sacrifice required from regular household budgets if small amounts are deducted on a regular basis.
This month is a good opportunity to learn more for those who want more details about long-term care options.
October is Long Term Care Planning Month, an opportunity for people to look at options in their local area, including facilities or home health care options. It’s also a good time to start learning about what’s around and what options can suit them in the future.
Learning about these options now can be interesting and educational and give you and your family a chance to learn what you like and what you potentially will want to pay for, if or when long-term care is needed.
In some cases, these decisions may need to be made in emergency situations, like if someone has suffered a stroke or other procedures that require advanced care. Family members may even have to make some difficult decisions by themselves and in a hurry if long-term care is needed.
They also may not have time to fully evaluate a facility or home health company’s pros and cons or have funds available for more luxurious options or accommodations. This could create situations where no one is happy and there’s lots of regret and disappointment. Or, not have all the help that someone will need.
But planning and preparing ahead of time can allow everyone to go at a slower pace and learn in the process. It can also provide opportunities for more research into what you like and don’t like, and guess what services will be needed. There may even be some price differences or the ability to lock in some costs.
It’s certainly a challenge to guess what needs someone might have years from now, especially before something catastrophic happens. But making preparations now can lead to some peace of mind.
Long-term care can mean a lot of things, depending on each person’s needs, but generally, it’s the care you need if you’re seriously ill or disabled. Major medical costs may be fully or partially paid for through insurance, but someone will need to pay for day-to-day personal care services beyond medical care, usually referred to as Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs.
One way to be prepared for long-term care is to invest in long-term care insurance. This may be offered as a workplace benefit or a service to be purchased individually from a financial advisor/retirement expert or an insurance provider.
This type of insurance can cover a good portion of non-medical costs. Purchasing this type of insurance at an earlier age has some advantages: someone could be in great health now but may not be in as good of shape 20 years later when the insurance is needed.
Certainly, insurance can be purchased later but may have fewer benefits and less coverage as well as higher premiums.
Along with purchasing long-term care, you can also put a long-term plan together. This could be a guide to your children or others who may need to make care decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to. Your family or trusted loved ones can also be involved in the creation of this, offering their suggestions as well.
Getting them involved has other purposes: they’ll know where the plan is if something catastrophic does occur and be able to share it. They also won’t have to make some of these decisions themselves.
Consulting with a retirement planner ahead of time also could be a useful option. They can structure something so you can put some of your investments toward long-term care and possibly increase this amount the older you get and the increased possibility that you’ll need care.