Long-term care is an issue that many people are confronted with without having the proper preparations in place. Whether it arises unexpectedly, gradually, or as a natural consequence of the aging process, long-term care is often a difficult issue to prepare for. Not only are people often reluctant to face the possibility that they might require long-term care, but many people are reluctant to accept such care even though their circumstances require it.
In today’s blog post in our ongoing series on basic questions about estate planning, we are going to ask questions about long-term care and how it might affect you. As always, if you have additional questions or need personalized advice, you need to contact us to set up an appointment in which we can sit down with you to discuss your concerns.
What is long-term care?
Long-term care is any personal, medical, financial, or other form of assistance that people need on a regular basis. Long-term care is a topic that most often comes up in relation to elder care and aging, but it can affect anyone at any stage in life. People suffering from disabilities, those who have developed a serious medical condition, or those who have lost abilities as a result of the aging process can all require one or more kinds of long-term care.
In most situations, long-term care involves one of several possibilities. The first is relocation to a long-term care facility, such as a nursing home or assisted living environment. The second involves in-home care provided by professionals, such as home health care providers, nurses, or others who provide day-to-day assistance. Beyond these two categories, there is also occasional assistance from friends or family members, the transferring of financial or personal responsibilities to others through the means of various tools, such as powers of attorney, as well as occasional or informal types of assistance.
Why is long-term care such a concern?
A majority of Americans will require at least some kind of long-term care in their lifetimes, though few of them have taken the time to prepare for this possibility. The chances that a person might require long-term care assistance increases significantly as that person gets older, and most people who require such care are over the age of 65.
Further, the costs associated with long-term care are often far more than the average person expects. For example, the average cost of a year in a nursing home or assisted living facility can easily exceed $65,000. If you are not prepared for this possibility, coming up with the money to pay for such care can be a significant hurdle.
This is why so important to think about long-term care issues before you actually require assistance. Coming up with a plan that will allow you to pay for long-term care, and do so in a way that will preserve as many of your assets as possible, is an option that is often available, but only one you can count on if you decide to begin planning as soon as possible.