The Huffington Post says that more than 40% of people over age 65 need care in a nursing home for some period of time. The article, “What is Long Term Care?”, quotes the National Institute of Health (NIH), which states that what’s termed long-term care (LTC) can—in reality—be a long time or a short time. Long-term care can be in an institution or at home, based on the patient’s specific situation and needs.
LTC is now a very broad term and has evolved into a term for the type of care required instead of the time period. The need for this care can be because of a sudden event like a fall, or it can develop gradually. Before someone reaches the point where total personal care is required for his or her activities of daily living (ADLs), other ancillary services might be necessary. There are adult day care and senior centers to help them socialize and keep active.
Even when elder care doesn’t mean admission to a facility, caregiving demands may make paid LTC with a home health aide a necessity. AARP found that more than 40 million Americans provided unpaid care to adults last year, with an average of 44.6 hours for spouses or partners. And 10 percent of those caregivers were elderly themselves—age 75 years or older.
Beyond an individual’s personal savings, long-term care insurance is available with many options and levels of coverage. It’s more affordable the earlier you sign on. LTC insurance will typically cover care not covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. It can guard your savings accounts from becoming depleted by increasing healthcare expenses, and premiums may be tax deductible. LTC insurance can also eliminate the burden on family members who would be providing this care.
An elder care and estate planning attorney can help with strategies to help fund this care. Government programs like Medicare and Medicaid should be explored—as well as any veteran’s benefits and Social Security. In light of the expense of nursing home care and Medicaid eligibility requirements, elder law attorneys can discuss spending down assets to qualify for Medicaid.
Reference: Huffington Post (June 8, 2016) “What is Long Term Care?”