Close to 70 percent of people over age 65 need some long-term care; therefore, looking ahead and preparing for the possibility of needing long-term care is prudent, as there is a high likelihood that you or a loved one will need some form of services. The need for long-term care hits all economic levels and households. The percentage of adult children currently providing financial care and/or personal assistance to one or both parents has more than tripled since 1990. Some 25 percent of adult children claim they are providing care to a parent.
Though the reality that you or your partner may eventually need some sort of long-term care is not something many people want to consider, smart estate planning includes looking at all contingencies. And the best time to map out your long-term care plan is long before it is even needed. Do not wait until a crisis arises to develop a plan for when you need care beyond what you can provide for yourself; take time to decide how you will finance any care you need and how decisions regarding that care will be made.
Long-term care can encompass a broad range of services and support to help you meet your health or other personal needs over an extended period of time.
When designing your long-term plans, there are a number of factors to consider:
- If you become ill or are otherwise incapacitated, would you want to stay in your home or at an assisted living residence?
- If at home, who would care for you? Do you have confirmation from that individual or funds for in-home care?
- Do you have the resources to pay those costs directly from your finances, should the need arise?
- If not, would you be able and willing to sell your home to pay for your care?
- If you need additional funds, do you have family who will help pay for your long-term care expenses?
- If you will need Medicaid, do you meet the eligibility requirements?
- If you need to relinquish control of your estate, to whom would you transfer financial power of attorney
These are simply jumping-off points for more in-depth discussions to have with your loved ones, your family and with someone well-versed in elder care and estate law. You may need to explore these questions in a series of conversations over a length of time, rather than in one session. What is important is to provide the foundation for your long-term care plans.