Though we never know when we or a loved one may need a skilled nursing facility for long-term care, it is something you can plan for in advance. Not only will it bring you peace of mind, but it will allow your family to know that your healthcare wishes are met, and any assets are protected. At Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano, we know that our Scranton families need to feel confident that the long-term care planning options they have chosen are right for them and their loved ones. We help you navigate the process while keeping the most important thing at the forefront of our plans–your comfort.
What is long-term care planning?
The National Institute on Aging defines long-term care as “a variety of services designed to meet a person’s health or personal care needs during a short or long period of time….Most long-term care is provided at home by unpaid family members and friends. It can also be given in a facility such as a nursing home or in the community, for example, in an adult day care center.”
Long-term care planning is the act of preparing for the need for long-term care. This can include visiting nursing homes, talking with your healthcare provider, or reviewing your Medicare and Medicaid benefits to know which types of care you are eligible for.
Often, families will include long-term care planning into estate planning to better prepare the finances needed for care, as well as protecting any assets they do not want to be absorbed into care costs.
Who needs long-term care planning?
Because those who end up in long-term care facilities are often struck by illness, it is hard to say who will need long-term care and when.
However, studies show that certain demographics are more likely to need a long-term care facility in their life. These individuals include:
- Older individuals are more likely than younger people to need long-term care services.
- Women are at a higher risk for certain illnesses than men, and women also tend to live longer.
- Studies show single people are more likely than married couples to need a paid care provider.
- Those with poor diet and exercise habits often need long-term care later in life.
- Those individuals with a family history of illness and disease often require long-term care.
According to CareGiver, 30% of the older population in America have substantial long-term care needs. Of those individuals, about 25% are 85 and older and 70% report they are in fair to poor health.
In addition, those with certain cognitive diagnoses like Alzheimer’s or dementia should begin the process right away.
When should I begin?
It truly is never too early to begin long-term care planning because the best time to plan is before you even need it. In this day and age, accident, injury or illness can change the course of your life in moments. That’s why planning for the future, with the hopes you never need it, is key.
For many families, the biggest concern is cost. By beginning your long-term care planning process now, you can learn about what services are available in your community and at what cost.
What types of services are needed in long-term care planning?
While many families think nursing homes are the only facilities available to their loved ones, or for themselves, when it comes to long-term care, there are many options for people.
Some of the most common types of long-term care include:
- Home Health: This may include help with meal preparation and chores as well as personal care like bathing and dressing.
- Senior Companion: These individuals, typically volunteers, will pay visits to the elderly who live alone or suffer from health conditions to ensure they are safe and have contact with others.
- Transportation Services: Many elderly people do not drive and do not live in areas with readily available public transportation, especially in NEPA. However, there are services available to pick up the elderly who are in need of assistance such as the LCTA elderly programs.
- Emergency Medical Alert: Should a health crisis emerge, an emergency medical alert system gives the elderly individual and families the peace of mind needed to allow the people to maintain independence while also having help nearby if something should happen.
While many services are offered to the elderly, sometimes there are unknown fees or tacked on costs if your insurance carrier will not cover it. But when you work with an estate planning attorney, the finances needed for long-term care planning can be incorporated into your estate planning, to better prepare you for the future while also making sure your loved ones do not have a financial burden.
I want to start my long-term care planning. Who can help me?
If you are ready to begin the long-term care planning process, contact the estate planning attorneys of Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano. We work with families in and around Northeast Pennsylvania to help them prepare for the future.
Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano
Planning for the future can be stressful and upsetting–especially if you need to think of long-term care for yourself or a loved one. But it’s critical you do to ensure healthcare wishes are met, and needs are not forgotten. Contact the Scranton estate planning attorneys of Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano today.