A Guide to the Basics of Long-Term Care Planning

long term care planning

The majority of Americans underestimate the likelihood of getting a disability and requiring long-term care. However, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services anticipated that half of all Americans turning 65 in 2016 would need long-term assistance.

Many people make the mistake of waiting too long for long-term care planning. And then, by the time they need it, it is often too late.

But you might be thinking, when is it best to start planning for long-term care?

Some people recommend past your 40s is the right time when you should tackle the issue. Yet, long-term care costs in the United States are substantial, and delaying a proper plan could have a significant financial impact on your future self.

Therefore, we recommend the sooner you start future planning, the better.

So now, let’s run through a guide to the basics of long-term care planning. This is so you can have a clear idea of how to get started.

Explore Your Options

Before making any long-term care decisions, speak with someone you trust to learn more about various long-term care services and assistance.

Other long-term care choices, apart from nursing home care, may be available to you. So it’s crucial you research your options before committing to a type of care that might not suit your needs best.

Options can include:

  • Home care
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Adult daycare
  • Continuing care retirement communities
  • Hospice care

Whatever age you are today, it makes sense to consider all of your alternatives to make the best decision for your future well-being.

What’s Available in Your Local Area?

If you’re going to research what care is available to your correctly, you need to start locally.

However, ensure you do your research thoroughly and don’t only go by what online reviews say. You can pay facilities a personal visit once you’ve identified them to make sure they’re who they say they are and to discover more about the care services they offer.

Further Afield

Many Americans dream of settling down in warmer climates in their later years. Places like Florida have become synonymous with elderly care homes, with lots of golfing alongside!

Again, carry out your research thoroughly if you’re thinking of moving away from your hometown.

If you’re fortunate enough, go with a family member or friend on a little vacation to check out some of the facilities that have caught your eye online. When you see them for real, you’ll have a much better picture of whether they’ll fit your requirements or not.

Planning for Long-Term Care Costs

Long-term care costs vary depending on the sort of care and services you require as well as the state in which you reside.

When you explore a long-term care facility, be sure to inquire about the cost of care. Also, ask if they accept long-term care insurance and whether they take government help.

The monthly median cost of a private room in a nursing home in 2020 was $8,821. The monthly cost of an assisted living facility was $4,300. These figures come from the Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2020.

So as you can see, there are some significant price differences in types of long-term care that we’ve just looked at. That’s why it’s essential to explore your options.

How to Fund Your Care

Here we’ll discuss two standard options that can fund your retirement plans and long-term care if and when the time arises.

Of course, these won’t be your only options to fund the sort of care you’re after. Some people have more than enough savings, investments, and pension money that they prefer to pay outright themselves.

However, these following two options help serve many, and you’d be wise to look into them.


Medicaid covers the costs of long-term care for low earners. To be eligible for Medicaid coverage, you must first meet specific requirements, which vary by state.

If you qualify, keep in mind that the program’s long-term care benefits are restricted. Also, some hospitals refuse to accept Medicaid.

Long-term Care Insurance

If you don’t qualify for Medicaid, long-term care insurance is something you should consider.

You should purchase long-term care insurance as early as your late 40s to qualify for lower premiums and coverage. When you get older, you become more susceptible to issues that may require long-term care, lowering your chances of finding cheaper coverage.

And waiting too long to buy insurance can put your future in jeopardy, as well as putting financial strain on your loved ones.

What About Medicare?

Medicare, contrary to popular belief, does not cover long-term care.

As long as you meet the eligibility conditions, Medicare will only pay for short stays in some medical facilities. Bear in mind; custodial type care or help with activities and daily living are not covered.

Write Out Your Care Requirements Formally

Writing down your care preferences is one approach to ensure that your true wishes are carried out. Known as advance directives, these agreements detail how you want to be cared for if you cannot make your own decisions.

Living wills are one type of advance directive. They encompass decisions about which care or medical assistance you want or don’t want.

When you’re no longer able to decide for yourself, your living will contain information about who you’d like to represent your best interests. They should be someone who you can trust to make health-care decisions on your behalf.

If you want to get legal advice about your advance directive, please contact our legal experts at Smith Barid today.

Know When It’s Time

Be on the lookout for signals that it’s time to employ a caregiver or move into an assisted living facility.

Some signs that you might need help are:

  • You’re not paying your bills on time
  • Your clothes aren’t getting washed
  • Your home is becoming dirty
  • You’re not taking your medication
  • It’s becoming harder to get out of the house

These are just a few warning signs that you can pick up on when it might be time to rethink your living situation.

Long-Term Care Planning the Right Way

It would help if you started long-term care planning as soon as you can. By doing so, you’re more likely to get cheaper coverage for long-term care insurance. As well, if you correctly plan your care, then you’ll have much more say over it when the time comes to make the shift.

Ultimately, we all grow old if we’re lucky enough, and we all deserve a decent level of care. The best way to do this in America is to be ready for it!

At Smith Barid, we offer clear, confidential, and sound legal advice about care planning. Why not contact us today to discuss what we can do for you?


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