When you are facing the reality of your retirement and the fact that you may not be able to care for yourself or a family member as you age, it is often difficult to make decisions about long-term planning and long-term care. There are many reasons that you should have some type of long-term plan in place well before you are ready for it.
What is long-term care?
If you need assistance with daily living activities for more than 100 days, this is defined as long-term care. Daily living activities include dressing, toileting, eating, transferring to and from bed, bathing and continence.
Situations that last less than 100 days will have less of a financial impact on your household and may not require planning, but statistics show that of those Americans 65 years or older, at least 70 percent will require long-term care in some form.
Why should you plan for long-term care?
It is important that you make decisions about your long-term care early. First, this can greatly reduce the emotional and financial impact on your family when you require help to do basic everyday tasks. Your family members can be involved in the decisions you make about long-term care while you are able to share your wishes with them, rather than have them make decisions once the situation becomes critical.
When you choose your own long-term care, you can also determine which options are available to you in your community, which services may be covered by government help and whether public or private payment options are possible. You also have more information about eligibility criteria and what you should expect for overall costs, allowing you to allot part of your estate to the expenses to limit the financial strain on your family.
Planning long term may also allow you to stay in your home as long as possible. If you have resources allotted for long-term care in home, you may be able to stay out of a retirement or assisted living center and age in your own house. This gives you more independence and allows you to rely on community services that are designed to help elderly individuals.
What is the first step to planning?
American often avoid discussing a long-term care plan because it requires them to face the reality of their own mortality. Many have a hard time when they think of becoming dependent on others for help, but ignoring the issue does not make it go away. If you are concerned about your long-term care options, we encourage you to speak to an attorney t oday.