Long-term care is one of those topics that people don’t really like to talk about. However, when it’s needed, this is one of the most important things you can do for your loved one. Essentially, long-term care is the care required if someone can’t perform everyday activities on their own. Typically, this care is necessary when an individual needs help with two or more daily living activities, such as bathing, getting dressed, eating or going to the restroom.
The goal is to allow the person to live as independently and safely as possible. With a vast range of what long-term care encompasses, there are several different ways it’s provided.
Home Care from Family Member: Family members often provide long-term care to start. This involves simple tasks like buying groceries or more complicated ones like bathing and dressing. However, typically as an illness progresses paid care may become necessary.
Home Care Aide: Home care aides provide companionship and socialization and assist with meal preparation, housecleaning, laundry, shopping and errands.
Home Health Care Aide: Health care aides provide personal care (such as bathing and grooming), assist with range-of-motion exercises, provide some medically related care (empty colostomy bags, dress dry wounds, etc.) and offer assistance with housekeeping and errands.
Adult Day Care: Adult day care allows family members to get a respite from caregiving. In general, there are three types of centers: those that focus on social interaction, those that focus on health care and special Alzheimer’s care centers.
Assisted Living Facility: Assisted living facilities are a housing option for people who can still live independently but need assistance. Depending on the facility, assistance may include help with meal preparation, housekeeping, medication management, bathing, dressing, transportation and some nursing care. Residents usually live on their own, in small apartments. Despite the emphasis on independence, supportive services are available round-the-clock in order to provide different levels of help with everyday activities.
Nursing Home: Nursing homes are the highest level of long-term care. They provide 24-hour care to residents. Staff help with daily activities such as feeding, dressing and bathing along with medical care and physical, occupational and speech therapy.
Costs for long-term care varies widely, from a few hundred dollars a week for care by a family member to upwards of $300,000 for around-the-clock care in the most expensive nursing homes.
There are three primary ways that long-term care is paid: out-of-pocket, Medicaid and long-term care insurance. Medicare doesn’t pay for long term care; it only pays for up to 100 days in a skilled nursing facility following a hospitalization – and only if deemed necessary.
As with most topics, the best time to think about long-term care is before you need it. If you need advice on strategies to finance long-term care while still creating a plan that protects your family’s assets, we are here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation. We also offer a Savvy Strategies for Long-Term Care Planning webinar with tips on preserving finances and protecting your assets from costly expenses.