Long-term Care Solutions
COVID-19 is an evolving and rapidly changing health crisis, as we all know. The people most at risk from serious health effects are the elderly. Many of these vulnerable people will need long-term care. At Phelps LaClair, we have long advocated for long-term care solutions in the estate plans that we design. Long-term care is becoming increasingly necessary as the population ages. This is especially true in a retirement hotspot like Arizona. What is long-term care, and how does a person or family pay for it?
Long-term Care Provisions
Long-term care involves meeting a person’s health care and personal needs when they are not able to do so for themselves. The goal is to help people live as safely and independently as they can, given any physical or medical limitations. You may need long-term care indefinitely or temporarily. You can have long term care at home or in a long-term care facility.
Personal Home Care
The need for long-term care can arise suddenly, as with accident, stroke, or heart attack; or it can be a gradual onset as with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Most long-term care needs are simply the result of aging and frailty. The most prevalent long-term care is that given at home. Caregivers at home are most likely to be family members and friends. The caregivers help with normal daily activities such as bathing, dressing, eating, and using the toilet.
There are also homemaker service agencies that can help with meal preparation and household chores. Family and friends usually help without charge, but outside personal care agencies do charge and may or may not be covered by Medicare. To compliment personal home care, community services for transportation or meal delivery are often available, as is adult day care. Some of these services are free; others require a small fee.
Home Health Care
When long-term care at home necessitates medical attention for a specific condition, a physician may order part-time services from a visiting nurse agency or other health aide service. These caregivers can offer healthcare services for speech, respiratory, and occupational therapy, along with surgery recovery and physical rehabilitation. Because most people in need of long-term care are over the age of 65, the cost of these services is often covered or offset by Medicare.
When a person needs more than home care can provide, a long-term care facility is the only option. The level of care provided can range from assisted living apartments to full-time care in a nursing home. Medicare does not pay for these facilities, and Medicaid must be planned for at least five years in advance. The cost of full-time nursing care is not cheap. It can quickly drain a lifetime of savings. The big question is how to pay for it without “losing the farm.” There is the possibility of long-term care insurance, but that, too, must be planned in advance. The longer you put it off, the more expensive it will be.
Estate Planning for Long-Term Care
When Phelps LaClair designs an estate plan, we always include a living will. This document spells out your wishes for health care in the case of incapacitation, as well as end-of-life care. Let’s face it, none of us is getting any younger. Sooner or later, we may need long-term care for ourselves or our close family members. As a part of comprehensive estate planning, we advise early planning for long-term care, including obtaining long-term care insurance and Medicare.
Phelps LaClair is here to serve all of your needs for estate planning. Our 40 years of experience has positioned us uniquely in Phoenix and the metro area for estate planning that includes long-term care solutions to protect your assets for the next generation. Let us help you. Call us for a free consultation with no obligation. We are happy to discuss your needs and goals with you. We can offer custom solutions that you and your heirs can live with.