March 8, 2012 at 11:51 AM
We often have families call us in crisis mode, when a loved one is days (sometimes hours) away from a hospital or rehab discharge and needs home care services immediately. Families then have to make quick decisions during a chaotic and emotional time. Many of us put off the thought of needing long-term care for as long as possible but the reality is, about 70% of people over 65 will require some type of long-term care. The best thing you can do for yourself and your family is to plan ahead for long-term care to ensure you are prepared emotionally, financially and legally.
- The best way to avoid needing long-term care is to stay as healthy for as possible. Taking care of your health throughout your life means faster recovery from illness and a lower chance of chronic health problems that require you to receive long-term care services.
Protect Your Assets
- Long-term care is costly and is generally not covered by Medicare or most health insurance policies. Protect your assets from being drained by long-term care costs and purchase a long-term care insurance policy. Daily benefit amounts range from $50 - $300/day in reimbursement for long-term care such in the home, in an assisted living community or in a nursing home.
Know Your Options
- Do your research and understand your long-term care options. Common choices include home care, an assisted living community or a nursing home. Understand what each option provides and what the associated costs and care levels are for each.
Discuss your Future Care Wishes
- Have an honest discussion with your family about your wishes for where you would like to receive care—at your home, in an assisted living, in a continuing care retirement community or in a nursing home. When you know what your preference is, prepare an advance directive to legally ensure your wishes are carried out.
Prepare an Advanced Directive
- Many people do not have an Advanced Directive but it is very important to have legal documents in place in order to ensure your preferences for end-of-life care. An advanced directive can include a living will, medical power of attorney and a Do Not Resuscitate order. These legal documents outline your medical care preferences should you become incapacitated and cannot make your own health care decisions. Read this guide to advanced care planning.
Rachel Kenselaar is Director of Marketing for Senior Home Care Services, a home health care provider in New Jersey that has been provisioning hourly and 24-hour live-in care to seniors for over ten years.
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