If you or a loved one are constantly hearing how you should be “planning for long-term care” but you don’t even know where to start, let us help. We walk you through what long-term care planning is, different ways to plan, and possible options available.
Long-term care planning is creating a plan of action for future care by financing and deciding on the types and location of care you would receive in the future, should you need it.
Almost all aging adults will need care at some point; whether that be in their home, assisted living, or nursing home. While the time frame for when this aid will be needed will differ based on gender, health, location, and other factors, the fact that you will most likely need some type of medical assistance remains relevant for almost everyone.
Planning for long-term care (LTC) is, many times, overlooked because people incorrectly assume they’ll have the time and money to pay for the assistance if and when they need it. With LTC becoming increasingly more expensive, it’s become a dangerous gamble if you don’t start planning now.
Benefits of planning early include:
More time to look at all options
Better understanding of what you can afford
Begin to spend-down for Medicaid
However, if you have been diagnosed with an aggressive disease or illness, you may be more limited in your options and should begin Long Term Care planning as soon as possible.
There are different types of long-term care someone can receive or plan for. While most would like to receive medical aid in their homes for as long as possible, with certain diseases, that becomes extremely difficult and expensive.
The main three options for LTC are receiving care in your home, moving to an assisted living facility or moving to a skilled nursing facility.
Home Health Care
Home health care is when someone receives medical assistance in their home. Someone will come to your home and help you with whatever you may need whether that be bathing, grocery shopping, providing transportation for medical appointments, etc.
These caregivers usually will come over daily to make sure the aging adult is healthy and doesn’t get hurt while trying to do day-to-day activities. This is an option many hope to have in the future as it allows you to live in your home rather than having to move to a facility.
To learn about the average cost of in-home care in your area or get an estimate of how much you could save on care costs, use our free calculator. It’s easy to use and can provide great insight into your care options.
Assisted living facilities are where you live in a home where workers will be available around the clock. This is usually for those who are able to get around on their own, somewhat, but may have cognitive or physical diseases that make it difficult to do day-to-day activities.
Skilled Nursing facilities are for those that need help in nearly every aspect of their day. From getting dressed to using the bathroom, these individuals need trained help with their medical needs. Normally there are licensed nurses and other medical personnel on staff to help with any issues that may arise.
The top four ways to fund long-term care include:
Self-Funding: If you have the finances, self-funding LTC can be quite beneficial because you can choose exactly where you want to go and what kind of care you want to receive. However, the con of self-funding is the large cost.
LTC Insurance: Long-term care insurance is not only a great way to plan for future medical assistance when you’re healthy but it also provides many options for care without breaking the bank. It also lets you fund your care over an extended period of time rather than having to crisis plan and figure out how to spend down assets, what rules you need to follow, and other important factors when figuring out care.
Reverse Mortgage: Using a reverse mortgage to pay for care works for specific situations so you'll want to contact your bank or LTC planner to make sure you use this type of funding correctly
Veteran’s Benefits: Veterans benefits are only available to veterans and may require these aging adults to live at specific hospitals or medical facilities.
Medicaid: Medicaid is the largest payer of long-term care costs in the United States. This program is separate from health insurance program assistance and is designed for those who need long-term care, but can’t afford to privately pay without financial devastation.
Everyone should be proactively planning for long-term care. As previously mentioned, there are many more benefits to planning early rather than planning while the situation unfolds. Advance planning allows you to control some of the process and reduce the burden on your family. You can look at all your options, wrapper assets, or insure against ever needing care. Planning in advance means greater peace of mind.
Crisis planning, or Medicaid planning, is for those already receiving care, or in need of care within the next few months. You have either been diagnosed with an aggressive illness that may not allow you to do the day-to-day activities as you usually would or you have been in some type of accident that requires you to receive help.
Regardless, you’ll need to crisis plan which decreases your options and requires much more skill in figuring out how you’ll finance your care without going broke. In those cases, hiring a Long-Term Care professional is highly recommended so you don’t have to exhaust your life savings to receive care.
LTC planning isn’t just for those aging adults that need care soon, all older adults should start planning before they need it so they can make the best decision for their future.
This guide takes a deep dive into the landscape of long-term care and how to pay for it without going broke, including the answers to your top questions surrounding Medicaid.GET MY COPY