Long-Term Care: Plan for tomorrow, today
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.