While adult children and parents should talk together about potential LTC needs that could arise, these conversations can be unpleasant. Too often, they take place too late, after a parent’s poor health may no longer qualify him or her for a policy. Delay in taking action also runs the risk that the parent will be at an age when premiums are too high to be affordable. The results of postponing the conversation and implementing a plan can have a huge impact on the entire family.
Questions a family should consider in preparing for LTC needs
Most people would like to stay in their homes as long as possible or at least receive care from a community-based service, not a nursing home. Unfortunately, families attempting to save money often think they can handle care themselves. Mom cares for dad, and then the adult children care for mom. Sounds good on paper, but there are some pitfalls a family should think about and discuss, including:
- Do you have the physical ability and training to give quality care to your spouse or parents?
- Have you thought about how you would pay for care and what it would cost, if needed?
- How would paying for long-term care affect the financial security of your spouse?
- How long would your assets last if you were saddled with long-term care expenses?
- Are you aware that health insurance doesn’t cover LTC expenses, and that Medicare offers only 100 days of care under limited circumstances and with significant co-pays after day 20?
- Are you aware that Medicaid only kicks in after you’re broke and limits your care choices?
- Are your children aware of your intentions?
- Can your child financially afford to quit work or substantially cut work hours to provide you care?
- Where do your children live? Would you be willing to move so your child could care for you?
- Siblings may not agree on what constitutes a fair split when helping with the cost of a parent’s care.
- Siblings may not agree with how the primary advocate is handling the LTC plan for the parent.
- Dissension may occur when care falls primarily on one or two family members.
For those assuming their children will tend to their care, here are some additional considerations:
A well thought-out strategy that includes both elder care and long-term care planning will help families work together and ensure better care without sacrificing the health or financial well-being of a spouse or adult child caregiver, thus helping to maintain a longer, better quality of life for all concerned.
From an article entitled Elder Care Planning: An Important Part of the Long-Term Care Message
by Shawn Britt
Read Britt’s Full Article Here