As we approach the holidays, we look forward to a little rest and relaxation (and possibly a lot of chaos!) with our families. If you’re traveling to see family, especially aging loved ones, it may be a good opportunity to discuss what their plan is for the future.
The holidays should be a time to spread love and cheer with those we care about the most. We get it, and we think having this conversation is a perfect way to show you care! After all, many families only get together during the holidays, which might be the only chance you get to involve everyone in this important topic.
Are you visiting your parents? If so, take a look at their living situation. Is this tenable long-term should their physical or mental condition deteriorate? Some families don’t realize how much has changed in their parents’ lives until they visit for the holidays and realize they need help taking care of themselves and with day-to-day tasks.
Even if your parents are doing well, you should still have a conversation about getting ahead of their planning needs. By talking about these things ahead of time, you can be sure that your parents’ wishes are respected. Having a solid plan in place will also make it far easier for you when it comes time to deal with these things.
What Are Their Preferences for Long Term Care?
Ask your loved ones what they would want if they are no longer able to take care of themselves. Most people prefer to stay in their homes, but some would prefer being in a community environment where they have more activities and interaction with others.
How Will Their Long Term Care Be Funded?
Long term care can be very expensive, and the amount of funds that are available may determine what the options are. Many people mistakenly believe that Medicare will cover a nursing home or other care. It’s important to have a clear-eyed view about what the options are.
There are three primary ways that long term care can be funded.
- Long Term Care Insurance. Long term care insurance is the only type of private insurance that covers long term care expenses of home health aides, nursing home care, and assisted living facilities. The best time to get long term care insurance is when you’re in your 50s or 60s. It is more difficult – or possibly impossible – to get as you get older. Even if someone has long term care insurance, there will be limitations on what is covered. Check the policy limitations for exclusion periods and dollar limitations.
- Self-funding. If your loved ones don’t have long term care insurance but have substantial assets, these funds can be used pay for their own care. Self-funding may also be used to cover gaps in what is covered by long term care insurance.
- Medicaid. Medicaid is the only government program that covers nursing home or other long term care. However, Medicaid is not an option for everyone, as it is only available to people with few assets or income. If Medicaid is the best option, you may be able to protect some assets by transferring them to a Medicaid asset protection trust. Talk to a lawyer about whether a Medicaid asset protection trust makes since for your family.
At The Village Law Firm, we understand it takes a village to make sure the whole family is accounted for and cared for. We want to be a part of your village’s plan for the future. If you’re getting together with family during the holidays and want to learn more about what care options make the most sense, contact our team and we’ll guide you through the options for you and your loved ones.