How will you plan for extended or long term care for yourself or a loved one?
This article will cover:
- What you can expect about the care you may need in the future
- What to think about as you plan
You can download a free do-it-yourself format for your plan here: My Extended Care Plan.
Watch a video of this presentation at this link or below.
Download slides from the video here: Create Your Extended Care Plan
How Much Care Will You Need?
Everyone is different of course, but the US government research says that a person turning age 65 today has an almost 70% chance of needing some type of long term care services in their remaining years
- 65% use 2 years of care at home
- 37% use 1 year of care in a facility
And we all know lots of people who have needed care for far, far longer.
How to Plan for Extended Care
- Have the courage to be realistic. Most people just hope they won’t need care. And when the time comes and they do need it, it’s a scramble and they may not get what they really want. So the first step is to be courageous enough to admit that we and our loved ones will probably be part of that 69% that needs care.
- Educate yourself about your options and the cost of the options so you will know your choices and how to plan for them.
- Determine what makes you happy. If you are a social person, consider that when deciding to live with loved ones who work all day. If you love your solitude, create in your plan a way to have privacy If you love pets, be sure your pets are welcome where you plan to be.
- Consider the impact on other people: You may feel confident that you are fine, but what happens if you do have an injury or another acute health problem? Can you handle it on your own? Do you care for someone who will be in jeopardy if you are hurt? The people in your life will worry about you, and they also have to be concerned about the impact on their life. And the people who depend on them if you have an emergency and they have to drop everything to deal with it So write down your plan and share it with the people who are concerned about you. That will ease your mind and theirs.
- Make the legal and financial arrangements that make your plan work.
What to Plan For
It’s often an injury like a fall or a chronic illness that causes the need for extended or long term care. So make a plan for how to make your home safe, so you won’t fall and for how to keep your chronic illness in check the best you can.
Think about aspects of daily life that wouldn’t get done if you can’t drive, or eyes won’t let you read anymore or you can’t hear well on the telephone or you start having trouble with your memory or if you lose the spouse who has always taken on certain responsibilities. Who will cook the meals, maintain the house, do the shopping, make sure your bills get paid, remind you of your appointments, keep your hearing aids working?
Who will help you with dressing and bathing if you had a stroke or a bad fall?
What will you do if you have a medical emergency? Who will be with you in the emergency room to tell the emergency room staff what you want and don’t want, and what medications your taking? Who will help plan your care after your discharge from the hospital or help you find and move to a new place to live if you need more care? Who will take care of your spouse?
Full Time Care
What if you need full time care? Will you move to a senior living community? Move in with relatives? Have care at home? What will it cost and how will you pay for it?
Health and safety only take us so far. How will you make sure you are able to see the people, participate in the activities, and live in an environment that bring you joy?
Who Will Provide the Care?
You may be able to rely on your family and your friends and neighbors and your religious or civic communities. But if they are in your plan, discuss that with them so they know what you expect and you can think through the whole situation together. There are some pitfalls, which we discuss more below.
You can hire a variety of professionals a home care agency, a gardener, and handy man, a daily money manager. You can choose to move to a senior living community.
Whether your friends and family help you or whether you hire professional resources, someone needs to be the manager. It doesn’t work for the manager to be you. A family member or friend can be your care manager, but be sure they are reliable, trustworthy, available, and willing! If they aren’t, include a professional care manager in your extended care plan. (Contact us for a free consultation)
What Will It Cost?
The Cost of Care Provided by Family and Friends
We tend to assume that if our family provides care, it is “free.” For many people, caregiving is an extremely fulfilling experience. But we should recognize that it costs time and energy.
People quit their jobs and curtail their careers to care for someone they love. They could lose their health insurance in the process, and compromise their own health care. Caregiver stress can cause people can lose their marriages, their relationships with their siblings, and even their relationship with the care receiver.
The caregiver may need to give up time with their own children to do the caregiving. And they may have to sacrifice other things that are meaningful in their life. All this adds up to stress and health problems, which is now so common it has a name – “Caregiver Syndrome.” Studies suggest that many times, the caregiver dies before the care receiver.
The Cost of Professional Care
Genworth publishes an annual study which lists the costs of home care and residential care as a United States average, by state, and by certain cities. Follow this link to find out the cost of care in your area.
How Will You Pay for Care?
It’s important to know that:
- Medicare does not pay for long term care
- Health insurance pays only for medical expenses; read this article to learn how to understand and use your Long Term Care Insurance Benefits
- Medicaid is only for the very poor and means you must go where there is availability; assisted living availability very limited
- Long term care insurance is designed to pay for long term care
- Some assistance for veterans is available
Work with your financial advisor to develop a plan to fund your extended care.
A Format for Your Extended Care Plan
At Care is There we do an in-depth evaluation process with each of our new clients to find out what would make their life easier and better. We address about 20 areas of life, identify opportunities, and suggest best practices. You can learn about it here.
But we’ve also put together a scaled down, do-it-yourself planning document that you can download here: My Extended Care Plan.
If you want help from a professional care manager to create and/or implement your plan, contact us.
Contact Care is There for a free consultation.