To be honest, until recently I hadn’t given much thought to long term health care… That changed when my mom was admitted to the ICU and told she wouldn’t be able to live alone in her house anymore.
Now, I think about it a lot.
I’ve always had this picture in my head that when my parents got older, they could just move in with me and it would be no big deal. After all, it’s just another adult in the house right?
Turns out, it’s a bit different than that.
First, my mom doesn’t function like she did before she was admitted. Before, she could cook on her own, do her own chores, and take care of herself. Now, she has lost a lot of strength, has difficulty walking anywhere on her own, and she should be supervised while she’s moving about.
Second, I never imagined the amount of knowledge I’d need regarding medications. Her medications changed entirely when she was discharged. Before, my mom had a routine; she knew exactly what to take and when. Now, all of that has changed and it takes someone who knows what they are doing to keep up with it all.
This has all brought a new level of appreciation for the clients we work for and the facilities we build. Without skilled nursing, I don’t think I could have managed the care my mom required. I also came to appreciate the design of the facilities we build — realizing that my house was not designed with the thought of “more experienced” people in mind.
If you have aging parents, or are getting up there in age yourself, I highly suggest considering the “what-ifs” and planning for the unexpected before it becomes an emergency.
Here are 3 things to consider when planning for long term health-care:
Finding the right care setting.
Long-term healthcare can be provided in various settings, including in-home care, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and hospice care. It is important to choose the setting that is best suited to the individual’s needs and preferences. Note that you should research and be familiar with all of these as what may be appropriate at one point in time may not be appropriate at others. For future planning, having options for each type of care can be a good resource in case of emergencies.
Make sure your wishes are clear and that your important documents are in order.
When it comes to long-term planning, proper legal guidance should not be overlooked. The good news is that there’s an entire dedicated branch of the legal field that focuses on elder law and estate planning. This will make it easier for you to find a qualified legal partner to help you plan for your future long-term care needs. An attorney that specializes in estate planning can assist with the following: ensuring you get the level of care you want, assign different powers of attorney, shield you from situations of abuse or exploitation, and help you in qualifying for Medicaid or other government benefits. They will assist by laying out all your options and prepare your estate plan at any life stage.
Speak with a financial planner.
The cost of long-term care can be overwhelming, and it can be difficult to know where to start. Speaking with a financial planner that is experienced in planning for long-term care can help to alleviate these concerns by assisting with cost planning. This step will be vital in tandem to speaking with your attorney, and a team approach may be helpful. Overall, discussing your finances, different government benefits, and potential types of insurance can be vital to preventing your loved ones from having to pay out-of-pocket for your care
I hope sharing this experience helps someone out there avoid the stress and uncertainty I have experienced over the last couple of months. Planning won’t take all of the stress away or keep you from needing long-term care, but it will allow you to focus more on what important…the ones you love.
The Douglas Company
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