Be Prepared for Long-Term Care

Sometimes, there comes a point when your loved one needs more help than you can provide. This can be a stressful, emotional time. You are making decisions for your loved one that you hoped never to have to make.

This is a normal reaction for caregivers. The decision is never easy, especially because moving a loved one into long-term care changes the social dynamics of your family and can be expensive. Being prepared for the move before it’s a necessity can make it less stressful on everyone.

Determine How Much Help Is Needed

You most likely already know the tasks your loved one needs assistance with. This is a great start to determining what type of long-term care is needed. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services publish a guide for caregivers that can be used to decide which long-term care option is best for your senior. There’s even a checklist for choosing a facility, if you decide that assisted living or a nursing home is best.

Another important thing to consider is how much help your loved one is likely to need in the future. A good place to start is to talk to her doctor about how any current health conditions could affect potential future needs. If your loved one has a disorder that causes memory loss, the situation will be much different than for someone who has mobility issues.

Discuss the Financial Aspects

There is a wide range of care services available, so it’s no surprise that the range of costs is just as wide. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, a private room in a nursing home cost on average $6,965 per month in 2010. That’s $229 per day.

A room in an assisted living community costs, on average, $3,293 each month. At the other end of the spectrum, an adult day care center costs only about $67 per day. The bottom line is that you pay for the level of support and care that’s needed.

Health insurance and Medicare don’t pay for sustained long-term care, and Medicaid will only cover it if your savings become depleted. Having a plan to pay for long-term care is a better idea than relying on these public programs. Other options include long-term care insurance, life insurance policies, annuities, and reverse mortgages.

Consider a Power of Attorney

If you haven’t already, this is also a good time to consider asking your loved one to name a power of attorney. Being given power of attorney means you’re allowed to discuss legal, medical, and financial issues — and to make decisions — on his behalf. The paperwork should not take more than a few minutes, and any lawyer should be able to help you through the process.

Considering long-term care options for your loved one isn’t an easy process. By being prepared in advance, you can relieve some of the stress. This can make a tough decision much easier.

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