What is Long Term Care?

HomeBlogEstate PlanningWhat is Long Term Care?

When you reach a certain age, you may start to wonder what the future holds for your health. As a young person, it is easy to put aside thoughts about your mind or body failing, but eventually, you begin to see the reality of aging and recognize some simple truths.

According to the US Administration on Aging’s site LongTermCare.gov, if you are 65, you have an almost 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care service. Women statistically need care longer (3.7 years) than men (2.2 years). 20% will need care for longer than 5 years.

The truth is none of us know what the future holds for our health and what type of care we may need. In 2000, 37% of people needing long-term care were under the age of 65

What IS Long Term Care

If you can no longer handle the daily activities of life without help, you need a caregiver to help you manage. This can include help with grooming, grocery shopping, meal prep, toileting, bathing, household chores, etc. 

Generally, the frailer you become, the more help you need until your need increases to almost full-time long-term care coverage.

Health Insurance and Long Term Care

Many Americans are shocked to learn, after a medical event landing them in a long-term care facility, that their health insurance or Medicare does not cover this cost. Health insurance generally covers some part of rehabilitation services so that you can become capable of taking care of yourself again. It also covers short stays in the hospital. 

However, health insurance does not cover the type of care you need if you have a mental or physical impairment that requires constant care.

It Can Happen to Anyone

Any of us could have a stroke or a heart attack that could leave us without the ability to care for ourselves. Car accidents and work accidents happen daily and leave people unable to care for themselves. The only way to handle this type of uncertainty is to make a plan that ensures your care is covered if needed.

Home Care

Some people receive care from friends or family members who help without payment. Others stay home and receive paid care during the day and/or have someone they can call if needed during the night. 

Adult daycare centers provide a respite from the daily care for exhausted friends and family members. Some even offer showers and other types of care to help the home caregiver. 

There are also community services that are available including transportation to doctor appointments or senior events and home care agencies that can provide temporary care as needed or a more full-time kind of arrangement. 

However, many types of illnesses are not easy to handle in your own home. Alzheimer’s, dementia, incapacitation with the need of around-the-clock nursing care, and other painful and utterly debilitating conditions generally require more than in-home care.

Long Term Care in a Facility

  • Nursing homes provide around-the-clock nursing care and 24-hour supervision for those who need the most care. Monthly stays in a nursing home can cost up to $8000 per day for a single room.
  • Assisted Living is a type of arrangement where there is nursing care on an as-needed basis but it is never around the clock. These communities are for individuals who can manage without around-the-clock nursing care but still need help often throughout each day. 
  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities are a more upscale type of choice that generally requires a buy-in before you begin to need care. As your need for care accelerates, you stay in the came community and are cared for as needed. According to APlaceForMom.com, “CCRCs are retirement communities with accommodations for independent living, assisted living, and nursing home care. An aging adult can spend the rest of their life in a CCRC — sometimes called a life plan community — moving between levels of care as needed.”

How Will I Pay?

Depending on the type of care you desire, starting a plan sooner is better. Most aging Americans would prefer to age in place rather than move from facility to facility as they need increasing levels of care. 

There are many ways to plan for the costs of long-term care, but health insurance, Medicare, Medigap, and Disability do not cover long-term care.

Possible options to pay for your future care include:

  • Combination Life Insurance/ Long Term Care Products
  • Accelerated Death Benefits (ADBs)
  • Life settlements
  • Viatical settlements
  • Medicaid

Each of these options has benefits and drawbacks. It is important to do extensive research about the types of plans available and consider your goals for your future and that of your heirs before making a decision about which product will suit your needs.

Making an Estate Plan

Many Americans choose to make an estate plan to get ready for long-term care and other unexpected circumstances. You and your attorney can discuss your future possible needs and make a plan to meet them. 

Find Help

Seek out a knowledgeable and experienced attorney in the field of Estate Planning to get the best possible level of expertise when making your plan. An attorney who specializes in Estate Planning can guide you through the possibilities with wisdom for your particular situation. Give us a call at Vail Garder today to get started making your plan!

Footnotes:

  1. https://longtermcare.acl.gov/costs-how-to-pay/using-life-insurance-to-pay-for-long-term-care.html
  2. https://www.aplaceformom.com/caregiver-resources/articles/ccrc