Simplifying Long Term Care Planning

When it comes to long term care planning, there are 3 major questions to answer:

1)   Who will provide your long term care?

2)   How will they be paid?

3)   Is the plan funded?

Let’s examine each question:

Who will provide your long term care?  

It may seem like a funny question to some, but do you know the name of the person who will provide your care when the need arises? Is it your spouse, your child, or perhaps a trained nurse’s aide? The issue at hand is the unpredictability: your spouse may need care before you do—or even predecease you. Your child may simply be unable to leave their paying job—and its benefits—to take care of you. Even if your child is able, in the event your need for care is 24/7, that situation would place a Herculean burden on your child’s quality of life, as well as on their own family.

When pressed, most people will agree that paid caregivers are the best option for caregiving, in that this choice relieves the stress and strain on family. However, that’s as far ahead as many people have thought about the issue, with the result that many remain unclear as to even what professional care options exist in their area. Are there home care options, agencies that can provide live-in caregiver placements, adult day programs, assisted living facilities, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, and/or nursing homes in your area?  

The best time to know about these options—and your preference­—is well before the need for care. When there is a medical emergency and stress is high, it can be very difficult for families to make clear-headed decisions that are informed by what their loved one would prefer.

This is an important part of long term care planning. Almost akin to completing a health care proxy, uncovering long term caregiver preferences can make it easier to execute a desired plan of care.

How will the caregiver(s) be paid?

Exactly what money will be used to pay for your long term care? Will it be funded from savings and retirement income? If so, be sure to reality-check the cost of care in current and future dollars, as well as the income needs of loved ones—such as a spouse or cohabitants. Is there enough “extra” money to gracefully fund extended care? Keep in mind a dollar can only be spent once; for example, money used from savings for care cannot be used as an inheritance.  

Will your care be funded by liquidating assets? If this is your plan be sure to account for taxes and penalties—and tax benefits that may be missed when funds are liquidated for care. Be particularly aware of the tax advantages our government has granted both life insurance and long term care insurance—to encourage citizens to plan ahead—and minimize the burden on social programs.  

If your long term care plan involves relying on social programs to fund the care, you should become familiar with what kind of care they will cover—and what they won’t, as well as the financial and medical requirements. Many families don’t find out until it’s too late that the programs they’re relying on are in fact unreliable or undesirable.

Is the plan funded?

Just as any of us can become disabled or die at any time, the need for long term care can arise at any age. As many people who have been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease well before age 50 can attest, an unfunded long term care plan is a hope, not a plan.

Long term care insurance policies, once in place, provide immediate funding for a care need that may arrive next week, or decades down the road.

Conclusion

Long term care planning may not be easy, but it can be simple. Let me help you answer those 3 critical questions today in a way that makes sense for your family, preferences, and budget. Contact Baygroup Insurance at http://www.baygroupinsurance.com/forms/contact-us or call us at 410-557-7907 for more information.

About the Author: