Critter Corner: It’s Long-Term Care Planning Month!

Dear Angel,

I heard somewhere that October is Long-Term Care Planning Month. My husband and I are nowhere near the need for long-term care services, as far as we know. Yet, I heard it’s never too early to plan. How and when do you suggest we plan for long-term care, and what else should we know during Long-Term Care Planning Month?

Thanks for your help!

Enid Vance

Dear Enid,

October is Long-Term Care Planning Month, an ideal time for seniors and their loved ones to take the time to understand the costs of long-term care and how to best prepare for them. The cost of long-term care in a nursing home in the DC Metro Area is $12,000 – $14,000 per month. That’s a catastrophic amount of money for most people! Luckily, there are ways to avoid going broke paying for long-term care expenses, and we help our clients with this every day.

What Is Long-Term Care?

Long-term care is a range of services and support for your medical and non-medical needs. It can include everything from assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, toileting, and dressing, to more intensive medical care. Depending on your needs and wishes, long-term care can be provided in your home, in an assisted living facility, or in a nursing home.

Why Planning in Advance for Long-Term Care Is Important

As we age, our needs change. And while many of us would like to think that we can rely on our family members to take care of us as we get older, the truth is that they may not be able to do so. That’s why long-term care planning is so important. By putting a plan in place now, you can ensure that you’ll have the care you need — and the peace of mind that comes with it — in the years to come.

Many people think that Medicare will pay for long-term care, but it does not! Medicare will pay for a small amount of skilled home health care after a hospitalization, but most home care and homemaker services are paid out of pocket. Medicare will also pay for short-term rehabilitation that takes place in a nursing care or rehab center following a three-day hospital inpatient stay. But Medicare does not pay for long-term care!

Here’s why planning is important:

  • Long-term care planning well in advance of need can help you ensure that you have the resources in place to cover the costs of long-term care, possibly through the purchase of some type of long-term care insurance coverage and/or through the use of asset protection strategies such as our firm’s Living Trust Plus® asset protection trust.
  • In addition to financial considerations, there are also emotional reasons why long-term care planning is so important. By putting a plan in place now, you can have peace of mind knowing that you’ve taken steps to prepare for whatever the future may hold.
  • Using personal savings to pay for long-term care can deplete an individual’s nest egg and leave them without the resources they need in retirement. None of us want that to happen!
  • Medicaid is the single largest payor of long-term care costs because so many people can’t afford to cover the costs themselves. However, Medicaid has asset tests and functionality requirements, making it extremely difficult to qualify, so the help of an experienced Elder Law attorney, such as Evan Farr, is usually essential.

If you or a loved one is over 65 or suffering from any sort of serious health condition, it is wise to plan for the future now. Whether you are years away from needing nursing home care, are already in a nursing facility, or are somewhere in between, the best time to do Medicaid Asset Protection planning is the present, not when you are about to run out of money.

No one knows what the future holds, but by putting a long-term care plan into place now, you can ensure that you’ll have the financial and emotional resources you need to weather whatever storms come your way down the road. Don’t wait until it’s too late; start planning today!

Hope this helps,


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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.