According an AARP Fact Sheet, about 52% of people age 65 will need long-term care. Most of us probably think this only refers to care provided at a nursing home or other live-in facility. In reality, this includes medical treatment and support provided at home, at assisted living facilities, and at adult day care. Treatment and support for the elderly or disabled can be costly. Like a deep river after a thunderstorm, expenses can rise high and fast. Preparing for long-term care should be a priority for everyone.
But what steps can we take to make sure that we and our loved ones get the attention they need?
Preparing an estate plan is a good first step.
Estate planning doesn’t just relate to property distribution after death. It also affects retirement, long-term care, and asset protection. By developing a comprehensive estate plan with the help of a qualified Alabama attorney, people can still have some control over their medical treatment and finances even if they become incapacitated or disabled.
A Last Will and Testament doesn’t prepare a person for long-term care. However, you can leave instructions for your loved ones and medical providers by signing a Durable Power of Attorney and Advance Directive for Health Care (Living Will with a Healthcare Power of Attorney).
Assess your living arrangements.
Can you continue living in your home if you become incapacitated or disabled? Many people prefer to stay at home as long as possible. Make sure you’ll need to be able to navigate your home if using a walker, cane, or wheelchair. Consider renovations to make your time there comfortable and safe.
Is ‘unpaid’ assistance available for you?
Talk to your friends and family. They may be able to provide light support services to you free of charge. Find out who can help you and what support they are willing and able to provide. It could be as simple as driving you to a doctor’s appointment or helping you with chores around the house.
What about services I have to pay for?
How high the costs of long-term care will be depends on a number of factors:
Where you live. Costs vary greatly from state to state, community to community. See if you can learn the estimated fees for the type of care you may need.
What kind of care you need. At-home care is typically less expensive than live-in care, like a nursing home or assisted living facility. Your health and level of need will be considered when making treatment decisions.
How much care you may need. Typically, assistance with a few daily activities will cost less than 24/7 in-house care.
How long you will need assistance. When planning how much financial assistance you will need, keep this in mind: “Your odds of needing long-term care generally increase as you get older.”
How will I pay for long-term care?
There are several options that might help cover the cost of long-term care: Medicaid and other government programs for the elderly and disabled, community-based programs, faith-based programs, veteran’s benefits, and long-term care insurance.
What do I need to know about insurance?
Though long-term care insurance can be expensive and difficult to qualify for, it’s worth looking into. The earlier you sign up for it, the better.
Now is the time to get your house in order.
Are you concerned about future medical treatment or long-term care for you or a loved one? Start planning now. Schedule an appointment with one of the qualified estate planning attorneys at Adams Miller, LLP. Our phone number is 256 251-2137. Or you may choose to use our Contact Form to get started on your path to peace of mind.