Are you caring for a senior loved one who may need long-term care in the future? Planning ahead for this kind of care, as well as the costs, is crucial to find the best care. So, make sure you are ready by knowing these facts about long-term care planning.
Yes, You Can Plan Ahead for Long-Term Care
When a loved one needs long-term care, it often comes as a bit of a surprise to family and friends. Maybe you never think your parents will need to stay in a nursing home, or perhaps you just do not like to think about it. You should know, however, that most people will need long-term care at some point, but you can still take steps to assess the need for nursing home or assisted living care. Does your loved one have a family history of dementia? Do they live alone in a home that has potential fall risks or other hazards? The answers to these questions can help you figure out the odds that intense care will be needed.
You Can Also Make Changes to Help Them Age in Place
Even if your family has a history of Alzheimer’s disease or your loved one lives alone, you can still take steps to at least prolong the ability to live independently. Lifestyle choices are a major factor in the need for nursing home-level care, so help your parents stick to a healthy diet and ensure they get plenty of exercise. Games and puzzles can also be a great way to preserve cognitive function and improve memory. You can encourage your loved ones to stay physically and mentally active, and make sure you do the same as well. Another way you can help your parents age in place is to make sure their home is secure. This could involve making accessibility upgrades, or you may need to move them altogether to a home that is more manageable.
Long-Term Care Can Be Costly, But There Are Ways to Pay
There is no question that long-term care expenses can add up fairly quickly. The average yearly cost for a nursing home stay is right under $100,000. If you are close to retirement, taking those costs out of your savings just may not be your best option. Instead, look at other ways to pay for your loved one’s care. You may need to help your parents sell their home, in order to cover their care costs, especially if they need to go into a nursing home or assisted living facility. You should check current home prices and market information in your local area to determine if this is a smart option. Using a site like RedFin, for example, you can easily see that properties in the Voorhees Township, New Jersey, area typically sell for around $232,000. If you are in the early stages of your planning, you can also look into long-term care insurance options that can help.
Your Best Bet May Be to Consult an Attorney
Dealing with all the ins and outs of long-term care for your family members can get confusing. Figuring out smart financial moves and knowing what you need to make medical decisions takes a very detailed knowledge of local, state and federal laws. So, if you are planning long-term care for yourself or a loved one, be sure to make an appointment to talk with an attorney who specializes in elder legal issues. Your attorney can help iron out any estate plans, fill out power of attorney forms, and put any advanced medical care wishes in writing. This is also a good way to better understand other financial and healthcare options, such as Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, and all other aspects of long-term care planning.
Caring for aging parents and loved ones is never easy, but preparing for long-term care can be a bit simpler. By figuring out some long-term care risks, taking steps to help them adjust their lifestyle, and developing a smart financial plan, you can make sure your family members get the care they deserve without derailing their finances.