November is Long Term Care Awareness Month!
I think that having an “awareness month” is to help people organize their priorities. Long Term Care awareness month gives families the opportunity to start a conversation that is an extremely important one. I know it is not a fun or exciting conversation but the truth is we are all getting older. People are living longer and with that comes a higher chance you will get to an age where you will need assistance with the activities of everyday living – such as bathing, dressing and toileting. In fact, 70% of people age 65 or older will need some long term care in their lifetime.
Where do you want to receive care? Part of the planning process is deciding where you would like to be when you start to need assistance. Sometimes the amount of care you need will be progressive and other times you may need care around the clock right away. Would you like to stay in your home as long as possible? Or, would you prefer a facility such as assisted living community or a nursing home?
When I ask most people what their long term care plan is they tell me that their family is going to take care of them. Caring for a family member can be a huge obligation. It can be both a financial and emotional burden. Have you considered if your family member can take off of work? Or if they can afford to take off of work? Do you know if they want to or if they can be responsible for caring for you 24/7? It may make more sense to have your family member “quarterback” your care and let trained professionals take care of assisting with the daily activities. This will also allow your family member to spend quality time with you instead of feeling the burden of being a caregiver.
How will you pay for care? Long Term Care is not covered under health insurance or Medicare (although Medicare may cover some care for the first 100 days). Medicaid rules vary from state to state but generally you have to spend down most of your assets in order to qualify for benefits. Reality is that in order to pay for care, you will either self insure or you can use the leverage of a long term care insurance policy. If you self insure, do you have enough to cover all of the cost of care? What happens if your spouse is relying on those savings to pay bills in retirement? Long Term Care expenses can also decrease assets (cash, property, etc…) that you planned to pass to kids, grandkids or perhaps a charity? Why not shift the risk to an insurance carrier and let them cover the cost of your care!
In my next blog, I will review the different types of long term care policies that are available.
Please contact our Long Term Care Specialist, David Prensky at 410-897-9890 ext. 221 or firstname.lastname@example.org. David can review your needs and provide you with the best options that will help you meet your objectives.