CREATIVE LONG-TERM CARE PLANNINGMay 12th, 2012 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Senior Finances
We talked about the effect long term care has on financial planning last week on SeniorCitizenJournal.com. Baby Boomers who have not yet retired, and younger generations as well, need to be seriously planning for their senior years’ long term care needs. We are living longer, and the need for long term care of one kind or another is a reality we all must face.
Let’s take a look at the ever-increasing variety of options available on the market today.
- The most traditional plan is the purchase of a long-term care insurance policy. We have yet to find planning experts who do not recommend purchase of a long-term care policy. They need to be researched carefully, and the exact terms of the policy need to be reviewed… one by one. Seeking the help of an expert who does not sell policies is a good idea. They can help you walk through the options and determine the best plan for you.
- With the assistance of a long-term care policy, you may have the option to move to an assisted living facility or a nursing home in the event you are unable to care for yourself. Some policies also provide in-home care and/or care in a small group home. These options need to be clearly identified in any long-term care insurance policy you review. Assisted living is just that; assistance is provided for activities of daily living (ADL) such as bathing, dressing, feeding, toileting, etc. Nursing home care is skilled nursing; residents of these facilities need skilled nursing care for medical reasons. In-home services are generally prescribed by a physician, and can include such things as preparing meals, light household cleaning, bathing, and other personal care the patient is unable to provide for him/herself. Care in a small adult group home is very much like assisted living, with the number of residents small (usually 8-10) as compared to a larger ALF that may have as many as a hundred residents.
- One of the options you may want to consider is a move to a retirement home/center that provides the full gamut of elder care, so you will not have to ever move again. This can begin with independent living where there is no elder care whatsoever, with the possible exception of housecleaning and meals provided. The various levels of care beyond that include assisted living (described above), skilled nursing care, and hospice care for one’s final days.
- Staying at home with caretakers coming in for various services may be another option for some seniors. This generally is coordinated with one’s primary physician, social services and in-home nursing care. In-home monitoring services (such as Rest Assured®)are relatively new on the market, and a service SCJ highly recommends investigating. The place to begin for this kind of elder assistance is with your physician.
- Finally, the option of a program that brings a portable home onto a property (such as one’s adult children) in which the elderly may live in close proximity to caretakers is worth exploring. SCJ described Med Cottage in a previous article a couple of years ago. This kind of ‘assisted living’ can be coupled with in-home care that the elder person may require. The cottage is designed for maximum comfort and safety for senior citizens.
Increasingly Baby Boomers and seniors everywhere will be looking at options for their elder years. The list provided in this article will only continue to grow as senior citizens explore and create senior living opportunities.