Long Term Care – what is it and why do I care?
It’s simple and complicated all at the same time, so let me tell a story near and dear to my heart because it’s my family.
My grandparents live in a small town, about an hour and half from here. They were very involved with town politics and social life. They were great business minded people and served the community well. When I visit them today and we go out, we can’t help but be greeted by 3 or 5 people, “HEY Jerry! How’s it going?!” Then I get introduced to Mr. so-n-so and his wife that went to high school, was on his city council campaign, or lived next to him growing up. Yes my grandparents, especially my grandfather, is was and will always be the social connection of his town. However, when it came to planning for their own personal future with retirement, they dropped the ball. It wasn’t for a lack of money and thought about money, it was the lack of knowing what kind of curve balls life throws at you and how to make sure you have a plan that can hit the curve ball.
Their basic plan was to rely on their investment properties throughout the town and the savings they had accumulated throughout the years. The curve ball that stroke them out the hardest is my grandmother’s health. Assuming medicare would take care of them is a common thought. However, at first the care she needed didn’t qualify for medicare. She needed personal day to day assistance for eating, going to the restroom, and so forth. It’s only when she needed skilled care could she possibly be covered under medicare and even that was limited. Most of their money is now drained and they rely heavily on my aunt and her generous husband to help fund the nursing homes they live in. I say homes because they live in different homes based off level of care needed.
I hear many stories of my parents’ friends that have to cut back at work to go and take care of their aging parents. They can’t afford to spend the money to have someone else take care of them for their daily living duties. Whether it’s preparing food to eat or helping them to the bathroom, it’s time consuming and can be mentally and physically draining doing it day in and day out.
Long Term Care Awareness Month is meant for you to be a wake up call and push you to go out and seek the knowledge you need around your golden years. It’s meant for you to understand what are the options out there between medicare, medicaid, long term care insurance, and other similar products. You should arm yourself with the knowledge of what is covered under medicare and medicaid, how to qualify and how to prepare yourself in case something isn’t covered.
This is why long term care planning is so important. As people we WANT so badly to be able to take care of ourselves and we can never imagine a time where we can’t. Either pride or shame can get in the way of asking for help when the time comes that we actually need help. Long term care planning helps you stay independent without asking family and friends for help. Family members that would be the ones taking the responsibility of the aging parent would also be grateful.
Long term care planning consists of making a game plan in case you can no longer take care of yourself. This plan goes hand in hand with what kind of legacy you want to leave.
Would you prefer in home care or a nursing home?
How are you going to pay for in home care or a nursing home?
How does medicare factor in?
Do you want to leave your children or grandchildren a legacy of wealth?
What about medicaid?
These are all just a few questions to consider.
The sooner you can sit down with a financial planner to prepare a customized plan for you, the more flexibility you’ll have and typically the cheaper it can be. There are many products out there that can help you achieve your goals of staying independent through your golden years, but sitting down with someone that can explain the differences and help guide you to the right one for you is going to be key to your long term care plan success.
Do you have any long term care stories near & dear to your heart? If so, please share!
As always, I’m looking to bring out wonderful clients to help them achieve their life’s goals. If long term care has been on your mind and you don’t even know where to start or you have lots of questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me for a meeting!
– Financial Landscaper
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