Everything You Need to Know About Long Term Senior Care Plans

senior care

Are you wondering how to organize senior care for an elderly parent who’s a Georgia resident? You might be getting by at the moment with the help of friends and family for guidance, but have you considered making a long-term care plan?

For 2019, Genworth calculated the monthly senior care cost in Georgia to be approximately $1.5k for adult day health care, $4k for a home health aide, and $7k for a nursing home. They project these numbers will double in just 25 years.

If you don’t want to leave everything to chance, then it’s time to consider a long-term senior care plan. We’re going to explain the key elements that need to be in place to give you and your elderly parent peace of mind. Read on!

Legal Documents

Before you get completely wrapped up in the smaller details of day-by-day senior care, it’s best to have some important documents prepared. These will make certain decisions easier down-the-road because they will have already been made in advance.

Another reason to prepare legal documents before you need them is cognitive decline. With one in three American seniors developing dementia, it’s best to make important legal decisions as soon as possible.

Long term estate planning doesn’t end at the last will, but it should start with one. Alternatively, a living trust can be established, which passes property immediately to named beneficiaries upon death, avoiding court.

There is an additional document called a living will, or advance directive. Rather than dealing with the distribution of assets after death, it deals with future medical decisions that you might not be in a position to make. Along these lines, a durable health-care power of attorney is a document that enables you to appoint a person to make all your health care decisions.

Guardianship and power of attorney (POA) are similar, in that a person is appointed as decision-maker in the event of mental incapacitation. The big difference is that when you create a POA, you get to make the choices about who will be in charge or managing your affairs and how.  If you don’t have a POA, then your family may be forced to file a guardianship/conservatorship proceeding in probate court and ask the judge to appoint someone to manage things for you, and that someone may not be the person you would choose.

Guardianship/conservatorship is a difficult process and it’s best to hire a  long term care plan lawyer to assist you with that.

Financial Plan

There’s probably no part of the senior care plan more stressful than working out how to pay for everything.

In most cases, there isn’t one way and financial resources have to be pooled. Even if you have long-term care insurance, it might not cover everything without dipping into personal savings. Medicaid, Medicare, and veteran benefits might also factor in.

If you can’t figure it out, a senior care attorney will be able to help you come up with a plan.

Daily Living

While the primary focus of long term care plans might be on all the paperwork mentioned above, activities of daily living (ADLs) are an important part of the equation. If your loved one chooses to age in place (live in their own home), then how are you going to plan for your elderly parent’s daily needs?

Family members may want to provide care themselves or augment/replace with a home health aide. While personal care needs will be the same for everyone, the level of assistance will vary greatly person-to-person and over time.

Wherever possible, always try and have the elder do as much as they can themselves, to maintain their independence and dignity. If they are still physically able to shop with assistance and run errands, then they should be involved. This social interaction in the community will give a positive boost to their mental well being.

Consider safety issues both before and as they arise. Anything that will lower the risk of injury should be done, especially in regards to falls. As bone-density declines in seniors, they are particularly prone to falls, especially as eyesight and coordination also begin to fail.

Preventative measures that can be taken around the home include grab-bars in the bathroom, taping of rugs, and removal/relocation of all trip hazards. Moving their bedroom downstairs and having them live on the ground floor is far safer than repeated risky climbs up and down, even with their caregiver.

Obtain any devices that will make their life safer, such as a gait belt for transfers, a walker for stability, or handrails in the hallway. Make sure they get into the habit of using these mobility aids and always position them easily within their reach whenever possible.

Family Support

Always keep a positive mindset and attitude, especially around the senior you are caring for. If there are issues between certain members of the family, don’t let these caregiver emotions spill out and impact the senior. Depression is common in seniors, so be careful of anything that might trigger a low mood.

If you’re providing senior care long term, don’t forget to look after your mental health. See if there are any local caregiving support groups if you feel like you can’t cope.

All family members should be involved in the care budget to keep potential conflict to a minimum. If family members need to financially/physically supplement the care, it should be done fairly.

If additional help from family is not an option, see if there are any friends of the senior who can help in small ways. This will relieve some pressure and also provide valuable friendship and support to both you and the senior.

Senior Care Lawyers

The best senior care starts with solid legal documents and sound financial planning, but a supportive family network is important to meet daily needs. Don’t get overwhelmed by trying to do all of this on your own.

If you’re the family member of a senior in Georgia, we can help you with your senior care plan. We focus our practice exclusively on estate planning, elder law, and special needs, delivering a superior planning experience.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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