Planning Long Term Care
Aging comes with many joys and challenges. Elderly people are often retired and have time to delight in watching their loved ones grow up and start families of their own. However, they also tend to have more medical issues and face a general decline in mental and physical health. Medical bills can quickly drain precious retirement savings, especially when an elderly patient needs medical attention nearly 24 hours a day. This kind of constant medical attention is known in the legal and financial worlds as "long-term care," or LTC. The articles in this section provide general information about how to prepare for long-term care.
Decide How to Pay for LTC
Long-term care can pose an additional recurring expense during your retirement years, regardless of the type of care you need. If you are fortunate enough to have a healthy retirement savings portfolio, you may be able to pay for LTC with your retirement savings. Medicare or your health insurance may also cover LTC costs.
However, if you can't afford to use your retirement savings and your health insurance doesn't cover long-term care costs, you may wish to consider long-term care insurance. With LTC insurance, you'll pay a regular premium. The insurance company will, in turn, pay for your long-term care if you need it later. Some employers may offer discounted LTC insurance as an employee benefit. If you need to buy your own LTC insurance, it's important to shop around for insurance policies and carefully consider the probable cost of long-term care before purchasing a plan. Many people find that the premium is likely to be more expensive than the overall cost of care.
Decide What Kind of Care You Need
Each patient has unique needs. Fortunately, there are a variety of long-term care options to meet each of these needs. Some options include:
- Residence in a nursing home, for patients who need constant medical attention;
- A visiting nurse, for patients who need regular medical care but do not need constant supervision; and
- Cooks, cleaners, and homemakers, for patients who do not need medical care but are no longer able to care for themselves.
Decide Who Will Help You
Finally, many elderly patients experience cognitive decline and reach a point where they can no longer make reasoned decisions for themselves. These patients can create powers of attorney, which designate a trusted friend or family member to make medical or financial decisions for them. Below, you'll find an article on the different forms of durable power of attorney and how a lawyer can help you draft one.