Long-term care is a collection of different services meant to meet an individual’s personal or health care needs during a specified period. The goal of such services is to help such individuals live a safe and independent life when they can no longer conduct their activities of daily living.
Activities of daily living, also known as ADLs, are certain skills required to manage an individual’s basic physical needs. They may include personal grooming, hygiene, toileting, dressing, ambulating, eating, transferring, etc.
Various factors contribute to the need for long-term care. Examples include:
- Gender: Women often need long-term care than males because women usually live longer.
- Age: Older people need long-term care more often than younger ones.
- Marital status: Single people may need long-term care than married couples.
- Lifestyle: Poor exercise habits and diet can contribute to the need for long-term care.
- Health and family history: Individuals with health problems often have a higher risk of needing long-term care, and the same applies to those whose families have a history of certain health problems.
How To Plan for Long-Term Care
One thing you need to know about long-term care is that sometimes you can’t tell when you’ll need it. For example, despite being healthy at the moment, an unexpected stroke, injury or illness could change your life entirely, requiring long-term care in the process.
In severe cases, you may not be able to make certain decisions on your own after the life-changing injury or illness. This explains why it’s usually a great idea to begin planning for long-term care early enough.
Planning for long-term care introduces you to the services available in your community and the costs involved. It also helps you make important decisions when you’re still able.
Here’s what you need to consider when planning for long-term care.
Decision-making aspect: Talk to your friends, family, and lawyer about who would provide your long-term care if the need arises.
Housing factor: Think about the place you’d like to live when you need long-term care and how the place can best support your needs.
Financial factor: Long-term care is expensive. For this reason, it’s important to evaluate your financial options well in advance. This is especially important when that time comes, and you can’t make certain financial decisions independently.
Your financing options could either be:
- Personal funds – pensions, savings, income from stocks.
- Veteran’s benefits.
- Services issues via the Older Americans Act.
- Government-issued health care insurance programs such as Medicaid.
- Private financing, such as long-term care insurance.
The Importance of POAs Explained
By now, you already know that the need for long-term care may arrive unannounced. When that happens, you should have the Power of Attorney already signed.
A power of attorney allows adults over 18 to appoint another adult to manage their medical and financial affairs if they couldn’t because of health issues.
Not having a power of attorney could lead to serious consequences, especially where your health is concerned. For example, if you need particular medical treatment, the person who doesn’t have a power of attorney might have to go to court to get the authority to handle such decisions on your behalf. Unfortunately, such medical decisions can’t wait, and having a power of attorney could be the difference between life and death.
What Are HCPOAs?
HCPOA is a Health Care Power of Attorney, a written document granting another individual authority to make decisions for you. It’s basically what we discussed earlier. So for such a person to make medical decisions for you, they’ll have to obtain such authority.
The person making medical decisions for you is referred to as an ‘agent.’ Additionally, such decisions are usually made when you’re incompetent or unable to make healthcare decisions independently.
Use of Trusts for Long Term Care Planning
Not so long ago, gifts were more popular than trusts. But now things have changed. More people are beginning to realize the importance of trusts and the benefits they offer compared to gifts.
For example, a child may lose part of a gift to a former spouse through divorce, but that can’t happen with a trust.
Secondly, if the child predeceases the spouse, the child’s spouse may end up owning the property. Thirdly, creditors can’t come after the trust fund if the child lands into debts, but they can come after gifted assets.
With a trust, the creator appoints a trustee to handle the investment and distribution of assets. The trust will also include beneficiaries of the trust during and after the creator’s death.
Whichever way you look at it, long-term care planning isn’t something you can ignore. As humans, we are usually one injury or sickness away from a life-changing situation, and that’s why it’s always advisable to plan well in advance.
Want to learn more about long-term care planning, what it entails and how to go about it? Speak to a reliable estate planning attorney from Antanavage Farbiarz PLLC today!