Long-Term Care: Plan for tomorrow, today

I don’t need to tell you that taking care of a loved one is physically and mentally exhausting. It certainly wouldn’t be a stretch to say that care giving is the hardest job many of us will ever have. And while it’s important not to overlook the benefits of care giving – the selfless giving of oneself to care for someone you love - there may come a day when your loved one needs more help than you are able to give. That’s where long-term care comes in and there’s no better time than the present to start planning.

Too often, people are forced to make important decisions when they are in the midst of a crisis. Avoid this mistake by holding a family meeting well before long term care is needed. If you do, your head will be clearer and your decisions will be wiser.

Long-term care has evolved over recent years to include a broad range of services such as homemaker and companion services, nursing homes and assisted living residences, nutritional programs, adult day care and visiting nurses.

Services such as respite and home health care are usually paid for out of pocket. The same goes for nursing home care which according to a 2008 survey, can cost upwards of $70,000 per year. Most people can’t afford to pay for all the care that’s needed without becoming financially vulnerable themselves.

Start planning for long term care by assessing the care recipient’s current expenses. Next, assess resources and assets that could help cover costs of care: Wills, medical and durable powers of attorney; bank and brokerage accounts; real estate; pension and retirement benefits; Social Security and stocks and bonds. And make sure to scour your community for low to no-cost resources such as Meals-on-wheels, volunteer respite care, support groups, 24-hour telephone help lines and transportation services.

Lastly, you may want to consider talking with a professional financial counselor or a legal advisor who can give advice on purchasing long term care insurance and available tax credits and deductions that could help pay for care.

Comments

Hi everyone, I am a very seasoned caregiver and winter is coming the quite days are near when many elderly cannot go out and face becoming shut-ins. My hope is that any Caregiver/Companion takes time to meet other elderly for their charge and have them get together over the winter to chat, or have an outing together I find they really love to share their experiences in life more with equal elders around them. Also, if any of you need help in spanish speaking, contact me. by e-mail,"Chelly_laleona@yahoo.com" yeah, La leona, means The Lion, my family/friends call me that because of the passion I have when I need to get things done. Also, because I had really great sibling fights and learned how to defend myself against my 6 brothers! Caregivers going to the classes offered by the State? I'm going to one in October, it's for 2 days.



Posted by CeliaValdez | September 27, 2009 01:04am | login to reply

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