Step 1-Knowledge & Preparation are the Keys to Success
This step requires an understanding of the variety living arrangements and different settings under which care is provided. In addition, understanding the provisions and limitations of government programs is essential because the public generally has a misconception that the government will step in and provide care when the time is needed.
Take time to investigate the options for short and long term care in your area. Knowledge of the choices available to you and the annual costs involved will make the steps that follow easier.
Government programs are limited and according to research by the National Care Planning Council, only 16% of all long term care services are provided by government programs. The other 84% is provided free of charge by family members, friends, charity, church groups or volunteers or paid for by private funds.
Step 2-Funding the Cost of Long Term Care
Much emphasis is being placed on purchasing long term care insurance or arranging for reverse mortgages in order to fund the cost of care. These can be useful tools for providing funding but in reality, this approach for planning is not working that well.
After 30 years of being touted as the ultimate solution, less than 2% of the American public and only 9% of seniors own long-term care insurance policies and using reverse mortgages may be a good strategy but in practice, few seniors are using them to pay for care.
Financial planning is an important part of being prepared for long term care if and when it becomes necessary. The scope of investment tools available to Americans has dramatically increased over the last few decades. Consult with an experienced professional to determine the best course of action.
Step 3-Using Long Term Care Professionals
Long term care services are complicated and provider contacts are fragmented throughout the community. For the majority of Americans, eldercare becomes a frustrating do-it-yourself process. This approach is unnecessary. Using care professionals is the most cost effective and efficient way to provide help for a loved one.
Those people who need help with long term care and use the services of professionals often find they save money over doing it themselves. They also reduce their stress and they free up a considerable amount of their personal time. Another benefit with using professional help, such as a care manager, elder law attorney or mediator, is to help you alleviate or avoid family conflicts that often arise as a result of caregiving.
Hiring professional advisers or providers to help with long term care is no different than using professionals to help with other complex issues such as investing, car repairs, dealing with taxes or legal problems. With their education and training, long term care professionals also bring experience that only comes from dealing with countless hands-on, caregiving challenges.
Step 4-A Written Plan that is Accepted by All Involved
The first three steps in the planning process are designed to give you a wealth of information about long term care. It is important for you to have an understanding of care systems and the resources you can turn to when the need arises. However, knowledge of long term care systems is not enough. You must take some tangible action now to prepare for the day when you will need to deal with eldercare for your loved ones or for yourself.
The final fourth step in the planning process is making a care plan. You need to prepare a written plan for you or a loved one. The challenge of dealing with long term care will unfold for you in a more manageable manner if you make a plan and put it in writing. You will experience less stress, have fewer costs, require less time committed and have fewer family conflicts.
At Idaho Estate Planning we have all the resources you need to put a plan together. We have the experience and expertise to help you maintain your options and protect yourself as well as your loved ones now and into the future. The best time to plan is always now!
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