Do you have a plan for Long Term Care?
As we age, or in the event of a medical event, we may need Long Term Care. Surprisingly, a large percentage of people have no plan for such an occurrence. Additionally, many people believe that health insurance or government programs such as Medicare will pay for these needs. Sadly, that is not the case. Lack of planning in this area can be a major financial burden for families. In addition, this lack of planning puts a heavy strain on community and social service programs that are not funded or designed for this purpose.
In 2017, I was appointed by Governor Hogan to a Task Force on Long Term Care. The purpose of the Task Force was to make recommendations for better education around Long Term Care. Unfortunately, many families are unware of what may lie ahead for their Long Term Care needs. Over 70% of all people will require some form of Long Term Care services in their lifetime. This may be very short-term care or care lasting the remainder of their lives. In order that families are better prepared for this, our task force was assigned to review education around the topic and to recommend ways to help people be more prepared.
It all starts with having a plan. While there are many components of an overall financial plan, this blog focuses on planning for Long Term Care. So, what’s in a plan?
This article by Kiplinger “Why Families Need a Plan for Caregiving” discusses some considerations faced when planning for Long Term Care.
First, should you need any kind of care, where do you want to receive that care? The answer is not the same for everyone, but many people would prefer to receive care in their homes initially.
Questions to consider:
- Who will provide that care?
- Do you have a spouse, children or other relatives or friends that are willing to provide that care?
- Are they physically able to provide that care? (It is one thing for a 200lb stronger man to care for a more petite spouse, but the reverse may not be physically possible.)
- Is your home set up to allow you to be cared for in home?
- Do you live on more than one floor or a single floor?
- Are your bathrooms handicapped accessible?
- Or would you prefer to live in a Long-Term Care Facility?
Next, it is important to review what financial resources will be available for Long Term Care.
- Long Term Care insurance may be an option, but not everyone will be able to afford this option. Long Term Care Insurance, if you are eligible, may be purchased to cover part of or most of these care expenses.
- Without insurance to cover Long Term Care, there should still be a plan in place for who will care for a yourself or a relative.
- Additionally, a plan should be in place to decide where that care will occur. Will you stay in your home? Will you move in with a relative? Will you move to a Long Term Care Facility?
We recommend beginning planning early. This will give you the most time to begin saving ahead of time, to review insurance costs and eligibility and to have ongoing discussions with family members. Whether you need Long Term Care or how much Long Term Care you need will vary greatly from person to person. In this case, averages don’t always serve you best. If you are the person who needs full time Long Term Care, you will be grateful if you have a plan in place.