Why You Shouldn’t Put Off Long-Term Care Planning

elder law Fredericksburg virginiaMost people will need some kind of help with the activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, or moving around, in their lifetime. The need for such help can result from a natural decline of hearing, eyesight, strength, balance, and mobility that comes with aging, or can stem from a chronic illness. It is never too early, or too late, to start planning for long-term care, yet many people are putting it off.

A recent AP poll found that two-thirds of people age 40 and over say they’ve done little to no planning for the difficult and often pricey reality of aging. The reasons cited in the research included that people are “in denial” because we are living longer, are generally healthier and treatment and medicine have assisted in increasing life spans of an aging population.

In spite of the poll findings, more than half of people age 40 and over have already been caregivers for an impaired relative or friend. Although they have had a hands-on experience about the kind of assistance they, too, may need later on, only a quarter of those polled predict it’s even likely that they’ll personally need help getting around or caring for themselves during their senior years. With a large percentage of people in denial about planning for long-term care, below are reasons for NOT putting off Long-Term Care Planning:

  • Long-term care is more expensive than most people think, and you will likely be responsible for paying out of your own pocket for the care you need.  The only public program that helps pay for long-term care services is Medicaid. Another special program that helps pay for long-term care is Veterans Aid and Attendance.   However, each program has specific rules about whether or not you qualify for benefits, what services are covered and how much you have to pay in out-of-pocket costs. It is important to understand that Medicare, the public health insurance system for seniors over 65 and disabled adults, does not pay one penny for long-term care. Medicare only pays for medical care delivered by doctors and hospitals, and in certain cases short-term rehabilitation which might take place in a nursing home.  In addition, when it comes to Medicaid, it gets very complicated to complete and file the application, and it takes a Certified Elder Law Attorney, such as Evan H. Farr, to help you protect assets first and then file for Medicaid.
  • It is important to consider where you will live as you age and whether your place of residence can accommodate your needs should you become unable to fully care for yourself.  Most people prefer to stay in their home or apartment for as long as possible. But, whether your home is “aging friendly” depends on its condition and whether it can be modified for someone with limited mobility. Another option is to move to a community or facility that is more supportive of long-term care needs. Read our recent blog post entitled “Remodel or Relocate” for more details about this topic.
  • Unpaid family members are the most common source of long-term care help. But, they may not be able to provide all the care you need, or be there every hour of the day. As part of your long-term care strategy, look into caregiving services in your area, including in-home care providers, elder daycare centers, and PACE programs. How can you choose the right service provider for your needs? If you live in Northern Virginia, be sure to check out the Trusted Referrals listed on The Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. website.

 

Nursing homes in Northern Virginia cost $10-12,000 a month.To protect your family’s hard earned money and assets from these catastrophic costs, the best time to create your long-term care strategy is before you actually need long-term care. If you’re over 45, we recommend that you begin your planning now. Even if you are currently receiving services for yourself or a loved one, it’s still not too late to plan.

If you have a loved one who is nearing the need for long-term care or already receiving long-term care or if you have not done Long-Term Care Planning, Estate Planning or Incapacity Planning (or had your Planning documents reviewed in the past several years), please call The Fairfax and Fredericksburg Long-Term Care Planning Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. at 703-691-1888 to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation.

*Virginia has no procedure for approving certifying organizations.

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