Buying long term care insurance for your parents

Are your parents adequately prepared for retirement? If not, are you planning to help them out?

In many families, one or more adult children will step up to help Mom and Dad when they can no longer safely take care of themselves. That could mean time away from your family and job or pitching in financially to cover a variety of expenses.

Your parents will inevitably need some care in their retirement years. If they’re not prepared to pay for it on their own, you might consider it as part of your own estate plan — particularly if you have more disposable income than they do.

Long term care insurance is a way to manage your parents’ care needs, improve their quality of life, preserve their assets and even their dignity. For some busy professionals, buying long term care insurance for their parents is an option that makes sense, not just for their parents’ well-being but for their own work-life balance and peace of mind.

Recognize that Medicare will only pay for skilled nursing care for a limited time. It won’t pay for custodial care (help with daily living activities like bathing, dressing, or moving around) and it won’t cover nursing home expenses.

If your parents can’t afford care and don’t have a family member to help them out, their only option may be applying for Medicaid. But they’ll have to exhaust nearly all their assets before government assistance kicks in.

If you expect to be a caregiver for your parents, either financially or personally, contact an estate planning attorney. They’ll help you consider whether long term care insurance or other asset protection efforts make sense for you and your family.