A large number of us would prefer not to consider the day when we are unable to care for ourselves, or when our loved ones can no longer live on their own. Yet, in actuality, many of us will require some level of long-term care in our lifetime. This likely means we will eventually need help with some or all activities of daily living (ADLs), such as walking, eating, bathing, dressing, or toileting.
Preparing for senior living care means having more opportunity to decide exactly what you want, allowing you to be proactive in your planning rather than reactive. You can follow the five steps below to ensure you are ready for any long-term care needs that may arise later on, for both you and your loved ones.
1. Educate Yourself
Today, there are numerous senior living choices available, contingent upon the degree of help you require. With such a variety, it is important to examine the various care choices, such as independent living, assisted living, memory care, in-home health care, and nursing home care, and determine what benefits are associated with each option. In doing so, when you realize it’s the right time for assistance, you will know the scope of the available senior living options and be in a better position to wisely select the best option for you or your loved one.
2. Start Thinking About Cost
Generally, most long-term care costs are not covered by Medicare or most health care coverage plans, so it is crucial that you properly anticipate the costs accrued from senior living care and plan realistic methods for covering those costs.
Medicare will cover rehabilitative and medical services (physicians and nurses), but it won’t cover non-clinical services, such as assistance with ADLs. On the other hand, Medicaid will cover long-term care expenses but only after an individual has exhausted all of their personal resources, and Medicaid in-home care and Medicaid communities can be very costly.
There are also private pay alternatives to help cover senior living costs, to include long-term care coverage, which experts suggest should be obtained in your mid-50s. Personal assets and life insurance are the most popular means of paying for senior living care. To start the planning process, consult your financial advisor or insurance agent.
Your senior living costs and care coverage options vary based on your state and the kind of care services you require. As you confer with different providers, you should request information about daily expenses, billing processes, and their acceptance of financial assistance programs.
3. Consider Your Health Care Desires and Inform Your Loved Ones
As indicated by the National Institute on Aging, a large number of Americans will face questions about medical care in their lifetime but many may not be capable of making those decisions themselves. As such, it is vital that you discuss your care desires and objectives with your family, friends, and doctors.
While advance care planning is a very significant undertaking, that importance increases greatly when an advance directive is involved. In the event you are incapacitated or cognitively impaired, an advance directive enables you to communicate your values and wishes related to end-of-life care.
Advance directives regularly incorporate a living will and a designated medical power of attorney. A living will expresses whether an individual wants to receive a particular form of medical care in situations where they can no longer make their own medical choices.
After you have officially documented your care objectives, make sure you share that information with family, friends, and any appointed trustees, and make amendments to your documentation as needed. It will aid in establishing a sense of peace and confidence among those closest to you, alleviating uncertainties, arguments, and questions about your care should you become unable to decide what care you receive.
4. Gather Relevant Information and Resources
You should strategically evaluate you and your loved one’s care requirements and assemble the necessary information; this involves applicable documentation, including insurance policies and wills. Additionally, you should establish a list of supportive local and national care resources, particularly information related to federal and state assistance programs that might provide supplemental support to your family. Storing this valuable information in a central, secure location accessible to key individuals will help eliminate erroneous and costly decisions in the future.
5. Start Planning Now; It’s Never Too Late
Regardless of where you are in your care planning process, it's never too late to begin arrangements for senior living. By getting ready now, you can release your family from the burden and stress of making care decisions on your behalf. As a result, if that time ever arrives, you will be confident in the fact that you've prepared the best course of action for you or your loved one.
For more information or no-cost assistance with independent living, assisted living, memory care, or other senior living options in Northern Virginia’s Prince William County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Arlington County, or Alexandria, please call our local elder care experts today at (703) 878-7870 or contact us via e-mail.