Navigating Long-Term Health Care Planning

Finance and Planning

Thursday, December 19, 2013 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Long-term health care planning is a general term used to describe various residential options available to the aging population when they reach a point in their lives where day-to-day living becomes a burden and a financial, emotional, and health hazard.

Have you ever wondered about the different options available to you and your loved ones when it comes to long-term health care planning? Have you asked these questions: How will I pay for the care I need when I cannot completely care for myself? Who will make my health-care decisions when I’m unable? How can I make sure I’m not a financial burden on my family? These questions and the multitude of available answers may seem daunting; however, you are not alone. Millcreek Home Health and Hospice is here to help answer your long-term health care planning questions. Yet, it’s important to remember that every individual is unique and long-term planning varies from individual to individual. Millcreek Home Health and Hospice’s long-term health care planning tips may be used as a reference tool.

First, what is long-term health care planning? Long-term health care planning is the preparation for future care needs when the time comes and you can no longer be independent in caring for yourself. Proper planning and open discussion with certified financial planners, lawyers, and family members is the best plan of action to ensure that you and your loved ones will not be caught unprepared.

Long-term health care planning needs to be premeditated, before the time when day-to-day living becomes a burden and a financial, emotional, and health hazard. It’s important to understand the signs of aging and have open communication regarding your financial and health care concerns.

Here are some tips to streamline your advanced planning options:

–       Share your health care planning concerns and wishes with those closest to you.

–       Be aware of the available community resources that can help guide you through these processes. Some great resources are the     VA, Salt Lake County Aging Services, Medicare.gov, and private insurance companies.

–       Draw up a health care power of attorney.

–       Complete a living will and trust documentation.

–       Organize documentation that you might require at a later time in order to streamline the process down the road.

–       Review your health and life insurance coverage.

–       Develop a plan to protect your assets.

–       Explore the various possibilities for alternative living situations and the price associated with each.

–       Make funeral arrangements now.

The available alternative living situations for long-term health care planning fall into three major groups: In-home private care, assisted living facilities, and skilled nursing facilities.

In-home private care consists of paying someone to help you in your home for an hourly rate usually around $20 an hour. The duration of time can vary from one hour to 24 hours and the services include meal preparation, housekeeping, companionship, etc.

Independent living facility living is where you move out of your home and are paying to live in a facility where you are free to run errands, but you’re able to have some oversight in case of an emergency. These types of facilities also offer prepared meals, coordinated activities, and the opportunity to live with other individuals in similar circumstances.

Assisted living facility living is where you move out of you home and are paying for 24-hour care. Prices vary, on average, from $1,700 to $5,000 a month. Assisted living facilities provide supervision or assistance, as well as medication management, meal preparation, activity coordination, and more.

Skilled nursing facility living is where a registered nurse is staffed 24-hours a day. Skilled nursing facilities cost about $6,000 to $8,000 a month and are usually best suited for those requiring more complex medical care. They offer supervision, assistance, medication management, meal preparation, etc.

Home health and hospice works in conjunction with long-term health care planning but does not take its place. If you have a medical necessity requiring nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, home health aides or more, a home health or hospice company is still able to provide care wherever you are living, depending upon your current insurance coverage.

How to choose the best option for yourself:

Understanding the various levels of living options available to you or your loved ones may help you to choose the most appropriate option. Answering the following questions may shed light on your situation.

What level of assistance do you need? Do you need occasional help with meal preparation and house keeping? Do you need more hands-on care like assistance with daily activities, i.e., walking to the bathroom, medication management, getting dressed or nursing services? Being able to determine your individual care needs will help narrow down the optimal living situation.

What is your personal preference? Do you prefer smaller or larger living arrangements? Do you prefer a cafeteria or private dining option? Do your friends and family like to visit you frequently? It’s also important to understand rules of certain facilities, some have restricted visiting hours, some don’t allow you to drive, some have strict sleeping and eating schedules, etc. Therefore, it’s important to understand in full the benefits and restrictions of different living options.

What can you afford? As mentioned above, there is no set price for facilities. It’s important to get the full details of rates, fees, and services as well as to inquire if there are any extra costs. If you need assistance with payment options for you or you loved ones, there are multiple services available to help cover the cost of your living expenses so that financial burdens don’t have to limit your quality of care and quality of life.

How does the facility compare to others? It’s important to tour multiple facilities so you can build some comparisons. When you tour a facility it’s important that you feel comfortable there and that the room is suitable to your needs. It’s also important to make sure that the temperature is comfortable, smell is nice, and other residents are happy living there. After you tour multiple facilities, go back and make sure that your first impression was accurate.

Whatever choice you decide is best for you make sure you look into Medicaid, Flex-Care, and Aide In Attendance to see if you qualify for supplemental payment options to assist with the higher cost associated with long-term planning health care cost.

Care is best paid for using a combination of resources that are available to the aging populations. Feel free to contact Millcreek Home Health and Hospice if you have further questions regarding long-term planning.

The following sites were utilized for info in this article:

mayoclinic.com/health/long-term-care/HA00054

fpanet.org/docs/assets/7ECC84A5-1D09-67A1-7ACFF24053183BB2/5-25-06longtermhealthcare.pdf

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