Did you know that nearly 70% of those turning 65 can expect to use some type of long term care at some point? But wait – long term care does not translate to “Nursing Home.” It includes a broad range of personal care support including a paid or unpaid caregivers who provides emotional, financial, nursing, social, homemaking, and other services in the home. Other services may include Medicare covered visits to the home by home health care nurses, aides, or therapists who provide short term visits, Adult Day Care, transportation services, and a variety of care facilities. Most long term care is not “medical” care, but rather assistance with tasks of everyday life such as bathing, dressing, taking medications, managing money, or eating.
Most people can live at home for many years with help from family, friends, and other paid community support. Furthermore, most older adults want to stay in their homes as they age. A survey in 2014 found 88% percent of those 65 and older wanted to stay in their homes as long as possible. And it makes sense as staying in the home preserves connections to family, friends and social groups, and communities. However, when staying at home is not safe, there are many facility-based programs options including:
- Nursing homes that provide the comprehensive services, including nursing care and 24-hour supervision.
- Assisted living, board and care homes, and continuing care retirement communities provide various levels and types of care and environments.
There is also differences in how Medicare and Medicaid pays for long term care services. For example Medicare:
- Pays for long-term care only if you require skilled services or rehabilitative care in a nursing home for a maximum of 100 days.
- At home, skilled home health visits are paid for a short period of time.
- Pays for long-term care, but to qualify, your income must be below a certain level and you must meet minimum state eligibility requirements.
- If they cover long term care, most private health insurance, including health insurance plans, cover only the same kinds of limited services as Medicare.
In the meantime, there are several things each of us can do now to make plans regarding long term care. Consider completing the following:
- Advance Care Directive — to ensure care reflects your preferences.
- Medical Power of Attorney — to ensure decisions can be made for persons no longer able to communicate their wishes.
- Power of Attorney — to ensure financial and estate decisions can be made to pay for care, apply for assistance (i.e. Medicaid, state based programs) or for the ongoing management of an estate.
Take a look at LongTermCare.gov to find more information pertaining to:
- Private payment options
- How to find local services
- Veterans Affairs Benefits
- Staying at home
- How to decide
- Costs of care
- Long-term care insurance
- Reverse mortgages
- Life insurance options
- Who needs care
- and much more!
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