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Know Your Options For Long-Term Care

No one wants to think about what will happen when they get older and need more medical and personal assistance, yet it’s something we all must face someday. Being prepared is key to knowing your options and not scrambling for solutions at the last minute. Long-term care planning can help defray the costs and stressors associated with facing home health care, nursing home care, and hospice care in San Francisco and elsewhere.

It’s important for everyone to have a long-term care plan in place, whether you wish to rely on government-funded care, purchase insurance, or use personal assets to cover long-term care outlays. The truth is, 70 percent of people over the age of 65 will have a severe long-term care need in their lifetimes.

Long-Term Care: Defined

Long-term care encompasses a variety of services that meet one’s health or personal care needs during a long or short period of time. These services are designed to help people live as safely and independently as possible when they are no longer able to perform everyday activities on their own.

This type of care can be provided in many different settings, depending on needs, from facilities like nursing homes to adult day care centers. Most care, at least in the beginning, is provided within the home by unpaid family members and friends. The most common kind of long-term care is personal care, which involves help with everyday activities (“activities of daily living” or ADLs). Those include:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming
  • Toileting
  • Eating
  • Mobility (getting out of bed or chair)

Long-term care can also encompass community services such as adult day care, meals, and transportation services. Who needs long-term care? Those with serious, ongoing health conditions or disabilities are the ones who usually need long-term care. That need can arise suddenly, as in the case of a stroke or heart attack, or it can develop gradually as the person ages, gets more frail, or develops an illness or disability, says the National Institute on Aging.

Starting your research now on long-term care planning before you actually need it will give you plenty of time to find out about your community’s services and how much they cost. This also allows you to make important life and financial decisions now while you are still of sound mind.

It’s impossible to know for certain if you will ever have the need for long-term care. However, unexpected accidents, illnesses, and injuries can change your life in an instant.

The Importance of Planning Ahead

Planning for the possibility of long-term care gives you time to learn about services in your community and what they cost. It also allows you to make important decisions while you are still able. With almost 3/4 of the population needing long-term care as they age, it’s a pretty good bet that you or someone you love will need assistance in the Golden Years. Plus, many factors increase the risk of requiring long-term care, in addition to age, including:

  • Marital Status — Singles are more likely to require care from a paid provider.
  • Gender — Females, because they live longer in general, are at a higher risk than males.
  • Lifestyle — Poor exercise and diet habits.
  • Health and Family History

Taking the time now to plan ahead will help you outline the long-term care options in your community so you can explore them at your leisure before it becomes an emergency. You can also find out what special conditions exist to be able to qualify for and receive services, such as age or other eligibility criteria. Most importantly, you can start saving and planning now for the high costs associated with long-term care, along with payment options (public and private) that may apply.

Knowing this information now will give you access to a wider range of options when you actually do need long-term care, giving you more control over how and where you receive those long-term care services.

These costs often exceed what the average person is able to shell out from income, retirement benefits, and other resources. When you plan ahead, you can save your income and assets for things other than long-term care, as well, so you can preserve the quality of life for your surviving loved ones. It’s more likely that you will be able to leave an estate to your spouse, children, and other loved ones when you address long-term care planning now rather than later.

Planning ahead also lessens the emotional and financial stress, not just on you but on your family as well. You can involve your whole family in the decisions you are making now rather than forcing them to face the burden alone once it’s too late.

In the end, planning ahead for long-term care ensures greater independence by giving you more choices for getting the care you need.

Contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice

Pathways can be a part of your research on long-term care planning. Feel free to ask us about our programs, costs, and resources so we can better help you and your loved ones prepare for the journey ahead. Contact us at 888-978-1306 today.