Plan Ahead for Long-Term Care
Research indicates that as Americans reach the age of 65, a significant number will require assistance with daily activities, a service referred to as long-term care. The extent of care needed varies based on individual health, cognitive abilities, and living conditions. Aging is a major factor in determining the need for such care, and women, who generally have a longer lifespan, are more likely to need it than men. However, everyone, regardless of gender, is at an increased risk if they have disabilities, chronic illnesses, or injuries. The necessity for long-term care can arise gradually or suddenly due to unexpected health issues. Research tells us that someone turning 65 today has a 70% chance of needing some form of regular care. This includes in-home care and support services as well as skilled nursing facilities. Despite this, not enough people have a plan in place that anticipates this need for care. It’s best to plan ahead for long-term care.
Proactive Planning for Long-Term Care
It’s essential to plan for long-term care before it becomes a necessity. Here are three steps to guide you in this process:
Understand what to expect: While saving for retirement is common, many overlook planning for the costs associated with daily care like bathing, dressing, eating, or home maintenance. This care is often provided by family and friends, but professional services from home health agencies or local aging agencies may also be involved. Long-term care insurance can be a vital resource in covering these costs.
- Many prefer receiving care at home, which can be facilitated by home modifications to minimize fall risks.
- Living alone can increase the likelihood of needing long-term care.
- The expense of long-term care can significantly impact retirement savings.
Communicate your preferences: Your decision to plan (or not) for long-term care will affect your family and friends, who may become informal caregivers. Most long-term care is indeed provided by family members, and the lack of a paid care plan often burdens them. Expressing your care preferences and where you wish to receive care can alleviate stress and uncertainty for your loved ones.
Implement a care plan: Being proactive is key. If staying at home is a priority, ensure that your residence is modified to support your independence and safety. Planning is crucial to ensure you can access the necessary support to maintain your lifestyle in your own home and community. Elder law attorneys, estate planners, financial advisors or aging life care managers are all professionals who can help you make your plan to age as you’d like.
For more detailed information and resources to develop a long-term care plan, visit longtermcare.gov. Taking these steps now can provide peace of mind for the future, ensuring that your preferences are known and that you have the necessary arrangements in place for your care and well-being.
This article is not intended to replace the advice of your healthcare provider.