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Long Term Caregiving:  Hope For The Best, Plan For All Possibilities

Long term care is not care that you receive in the hospital or at your doctor’s office to get well from a sickness or an injury. Nor is it short-term rehabilitation from an accident.  Long term care is care that you need if you can no longer perform everyday tasks such as bathing or dressing yourself due to a chronic illness, injury, disability or the aging process. Long term care also includes the supervision you might need due to a severe cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s disease.

"Most people would like to stay in their own home for as long as possible. Planning for your long term care needs may help you do that". 

Long Term Care And Aging In Place

With today’s care options, it is unlikely that long term care will only take place in a nursing home. As we age, most people would like to stay in their own home for as long as possible. Planning for your long term care needs may help you do that. Multiple options for care are available today, such as:

     
  • Community-based residential facilities
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  • Assisted living facilities
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  • Senior daycare centers
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  • Home care

Long Term Care: A Family Concern

Because long term care is about you and your family, here are some important questions you might want to consider:

     
  • If you needed long term care, who would you turn to for help?
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  • If you are counting on your children, what happens if they are raising their own kids, working long hours or live far away when you need care?
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  • Are your family members financially or physically able to provide care and do they have the necessary training or experience?
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  • What happens if you need to become the caregiver?
       

Know what the choices are for long term care. Long term care planning options include:

     
  • Relying on government funded programs such as Medicaid
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  • Relying on family or friends for care
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  • Depending on local community based services
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  • Self-insuring and paying out of pocket
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  • Guarding against some or all risk with long-term care insurance

Few people may be able to manage the conflicting demands of working, taking care of a family and caregiving. Make the time to discuss long term care plans with your family and the extent to which you want to depend on them. And if you’re the adult child of aging parents, this is a conversation you may need to have with them to protect everyone’s future—yours, theirs and possibly your children’s.