Long-Term Care Planning: Having the Hard Conversations

When you think of long-term care planning, what do you think of? First, I don’t want to think of it at all! Second, expensive insurance! While long-term care insurance is certainly relevant, it is only a piece of the pie. Just like my mom’s homemade apple pie. There is the flakey crust, the warm gooey apple filling and the crisp buttery crust. Long-term care planning is similar to that
pie. There are separate pieces that make up the complete product.

Long-term care planning is the last conversation anyone wants to have. It is one of the most avoided, but vitally important, conversations to have with loved ones. My goal in writing this article is for you to start having this hard conversation. You and your loved ones should know what your wishes are and how these wishes will be paid for. It is never too early to start planning for the future and before a medical crisis occurs. As a nurse of 27 years, I have never heard anyone say they plan on going into a nursing home when they are older. However, 70-80% of individuals will need long-term care at some point. This care comes at more than just a personal financial cost. There are also physical, emotional, financial, and social impacts for
caregivers.

Long-term care is a variety of supports and services designed to help people live as independently and safely as possible when they can no longer do so on their own. This is non-medial care and assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) for those with chronic illness or disability. Long-term care is not only for those with physical limitations, but also for those with cognitive impairments such as dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. Medicare and Medicare Supplemental policies do not pay for long term care.

Medicare will pay for you to recover from an illness or injury. They will not pay for long term assistance with ADLs which includes bathing, dressing, toileting, eating, and walking. The parts of the Long-Term Planning pie include where and by whom you could receive assistance and how that assistance will be paid for. Options for care are remaining home with assistance, adult daycare,
assisted living facilities, or a nursing home. As each person’s circumstances are unique, financial
planning is very individualized. There are many options to explore when paying for care. These include
variations of self-funding (paying out of pocket) and insurance coverage. As there has been an increased
need for long term care insurance, insurance options have changed in the past several years. These
options should be explored on a case by case basis to ensure they fit each person’s overall goals.
At Peak Benefits Group, we are here to coach you, and your loved ones, through this hard conversation
and assist with determining the parts of your long-term care plan. By having this plan, you have designed
a life that includes more choices and options for where and how to receive care if you would need it. It is
never too early to start this vitally important conversation.
Written by Karen Iglehart, RN,
Benefits Advisor
Peak Benefits Group
Thurmont, MD

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