by Frances Mir MSN, RN, CMC
Planning for long-term care as one continues to age can become a process that requires research, pre-planning, and financial overview. The good news is that there are opportunities for seeking a range of services and working collaboratively with professionals who can assist with the steps of long-term care planning. This article will focus on those areas to help you with this most important step in securing a plan.
Why is It Important to Plan for Long-Term Care?
Long-term care planning will require understanding your options, careful planning, and taking important “action”. Long-term care offers services which will assist in helping to maintain a life style that meets the current needs of the individual. These services may include, but are not limited to, personal care which assists with Activities of Daily Living; skilled care services for more extensive physician directed care; or care management services to assist in evaluating, planning, and coordination of your care.
Skilled long-term care services can be provided in either a home setting or a licensed long-term care community/facility. Home based services may include personal care service or Physician directed Home Health care services for more skilled needs or short-term nursing or therapy services. Long-term care communities provide more extensive care with a full range of nursing and therapy services. It is recommended to take time in researching long-term care facilities, home health programs, and retirement communities prior to final decisions. Communicating with the administrative team of skilled care facilities to answer questions, assist with tours, and review state regulatory issues is essential in the planning process.
Who Needs Long-Term Care?
At least 70% of individuals over the age of 70 years old will require some type of long-term care. However, services are also available for those individuals, who have experienced a catastrophic injury, or have a physical or mental disability with special needs. Each care option may have their individual regulatory admission process for service provision, and it is important to review with each entity. Preparing a plan which includes care, support and advocacy is important.
It is also essential to understand the cost related to long-term care services. Financial review and planning are also very important and will, at times, determine the type of long-term care that will be provided. The plan will be based on your age, healthcare needs, priorities, and your personal financial profile. It is important to understand that not all government programs or health insurance benefits may cover your long-term care plan. Meeting with your insurance or financial representative, or the administrative team of the long-term care facility and/or home service is necessary to assist in understanding the cost related to care.
Enlisting an Aging Life Care Professional to Create a Plan
Creating a plan is the most essential step in long-term care planning. Understanding your own personal healthcare needs with your personal physician, talking with your family about options for caregiving in the future, and financial and legal review are priorities. However, identifying the important professional and knowledgeable resources in your community are also very key factors in ensuring a successful plan. One of those most important resources is an Aging Life Care Manager. This professional team member can assist with the assessment, coordination, planning, and evaluation of your overall care needs and plan. The Aging Life Care Manager has the experience and knowledge base to assist with maximizing community and healthcare resources to assist in minimizing cost related to the transition of long-term care. They can serve as the liaison for both out of town family members or other professional resources involved in the long-term care process. They will act as an advocate for the client whose family is caring for an older or disabled adult. These Aging Life Care Managers follow a strict code of ethics and standards of practice.
Professional Aging Life Care Manager services may be available by contacting the Aging Life Care Association at www.aginglifecare.org. The organization promotes the highest standards of practice, with professionals who are experienced in many areas. There is an Aging Life Care Manager in your area, waiting to assist and partner with you and your family in this important step. One does not have to be alone in planning for long term care.
This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association® and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.