Planning for Long-Term Care

Given the likelihood of needing long-term care and the tremendous cost that this care entails, it is important that individuals plan for it—and the sooner the better. Certainly, there are barriers. For example, people tend not to think about becoming older and needing care, or they don’t anticipate that they will ever need care themselves; they resist the idea of becoming dependent. They may believe (erroneously) that Medicare or their current health insurance will cover the cost of this type of sustained, ongoing care. They may find it difficult to raise this issue with their loved ones. Or they may underestimate the time and toll that future caregiving will demand of their family or friends. Some are not aware of the tremendous costs of this care or how it is paid for. Some may think of long-term care simply as nursing home care and assume that the “government” will cover the cost. Some are confronted with conflicting financial priorities. And some people may simply not know where or how to begin the planning.

But for every reason why people do not plan in advance for long-term care, there is a reason why they should:

·       Advanced planning for future care needs will allow for greater independence and choice as to where and how the care is delivered.

·       Advanced planning can mean greater financial security, not only for those who may need care but also for their family and loved ones.

·       Advanced planning can ease the financial and emotional toll on one’s family and release them from the burden of providing the care, if and when it is needed.

·       Advanced planning will avoid the uncertainty, confusion, and mistakes that could arise in the event of a health care need.

·       Advanced planning will promote a continued quality of life, as the person defines it, when care is needed.

 

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