October is long-term care planning month!
While many of us would rather not think about the extra care we will need when we can no longer live on our own, the reality is that a large percentage of us will require some form of long-term assistance when we reach our golden years. Long-term care refers to the services outside of medical care that help with tasks required for daily living without assistance, like walking, dressing, bathing or eating. These services come in many forms and can range from simple assistance with activities in your own home to receiving highly skilled care in a nursing facility.
Why is long-term care planning so important?
As you age, you become more prone to illnesses or injuries, and your likelihood of needing additional support increases. If you wait until you need care, many of the decisions regarding budget, preferences and healthcare needs inevitably falls on loved ones, which can be a challenging and stressful process to navigate. Early planning gives you control and peace of mind over your future, knowing you will have the support and assistance you need and prefer if (or when) the time comes.
Here are some steps you can take now to better prepare yourself should you or loved one need long term care in the future.
Tips for Long Term Care Planning
Do your research.
When your current residence cannot support your needs as you age, it is important to begin the search for one that can. Start early so that you know what options you have. Today, there are many types of long-term care settings. The type of care you will need depends on a variety of factors, including your health, lifestyle, financial situation and preferred residential options.
For instance, for an independent senior who wishes to join an active and social residential community, assisted living is a great option. The amenities and services provided eliminate common daily stresses like meal prep and managing medications. Similarly, diverse activities and programs within the community help older adults stay active and engaged.
At Country Place Senior Living, our assisted living communities offer three levels of care
so that residents can comfortably “age in place.” The levels vary by state, but each is crafted to allow maximum freedom and independence. Our friendly, fully trained staff can provide as much or as little assistance as you or your loved one requires.
Know what options are available in your area.
Once you have a better understanding of the different levels of care, you should also start to explore the different living communities in your local area. Gather information online, talk to friends and get a feel for the type of residences you feel most comfortable with. Narrow down a few providers and set up a tour to learn more first-hand about the quality of care they provide.
Have a financial plan in place
As you begin to tour different long-term care facilities, ask about their associated costs and options for financing long-term care. Oftentimes, assisted living is more affordable than home health or nursing home care in the same geographic area. The cost of care and your options for coverage vary depending on your state and the type of services you require. In most case, long-term care insurance is a great option. Start by speaking with insurance agents, financial advisors and loved ones to begin planning.
Inform your loved ones about your plan.
Finally, once you have formulated a plan, talk to your family about your future decisions. Communicating your long-term plans now will give loved one’s peace of mind and help prevent questions, confusion or disagreements concerning your living arrangements in the future.
Bottom line: It’s not always easy to discuss your future care plans. However, failing to plan for long-term care can have major financial and health-related consequences down the road. By preparing now, you can relieve a lot of the stress and difficult decision-making before you need it.