A Loving, but Often Confusing Decision
Long-term care continues to be one of the most misunderstood needs by most retirees and their adult children.
Long-term care (LTC) is a range of services and support designed to meet personal care needs, not medical needs.
These needs, also known among professionals as Activities of Daily Living, cover areas such as bathing, dressing, using the toilet, transferring (walking), caring for incontinence issues and eating. A common measure to determine when long-term care services are needed is when someone cannot perform two or more of those activities.
Who’s In Charge?
Learning about long-term care costs and services is necessary not only for the patient but also for family members. The reason? Someone has to decide who will act as Durable Power of Health and Durable Power of Attorney for the person needing long-term care. The loved one also needs a living will.
Everyone should have these documents completed before — not after — a major life event occurs.
Making wishes known and documented ahead of time can relieve family members facing tough decisions about care.
Because long-term care is not medical care, families likely will have out-of-pocket expenses. Long-term care insurance and similar policies can bridge the gap.
After age 65, there’s a 70 percent chance a loved one or yourself will need long-term care, according to the Administration on Aging. Most people cannot imagine themselves in this situation, which means that most people have no long-term care plan.
The average length of time for care is usually three to five years and can cost between $5,000 and $10,000 annually. Discuss long-term care with family members — where and how it will be provided and paid for.
Think carefully about who you designate for your Durable Power of Attorney and Durable Power of Health; if needed, these people will control your financial and health care decisions....