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The Importance Of A Plan

Why Should I have a Plan?

Most everyone has an idea of what their Golden Years will look like. You may save for retirement, make travel plans, and look forward to more time spent with loved ones. What often times isn’t planned for is what happens when you can no longer drive, take care of your house, or even yourself. Have you made a plan for when taking care of the day to day things becomes a struggle? There are many complicated factors that will go into determining your potential qualify of life including your finances, health, goals, support system, and most importantly, how well you have planned.

Where Do I Start?

  • Step 1: Develop your goals
  • Step 2: Determine if your plan is obtainable
    • Is the care you want affordable?
    • Will your plan meet your needs?
    • Is your plan sustainable long term?
  • Step 3: Identify your support system
    • Are your children and extended family able to assist?
    • Are there community programs available to you?
  • Step 4: Make your Plan B
    • What would your options be if your situation changes or your care needs increase?
  • Step 5: Complete your Advance Directives
  • Step 6: Communicate your plan to you Medical Power of Attorney
    • Ensure that your Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA) knows your plan in case they need to implement it on your behalf

What If I Don’t Make A Plan?

It’s never easy to think about loosing your independence. It might be easier to assume that it’s not something that will ever happen to you or someone you love. This article posted on The Family Caregiving Alliance National Center on Caregiving has some interesting facts and predictions on the need for long term care.  In 2007, around 12 million people were in need of Long Term Care in the United States and they predict that number to grow to 27 million by the year 2050. It is often said that it is better to have a plan and not need it, then to not have a plan and need one. In the absence of a plan it would be likely your Medical Power of Attorney would step in to create one for you in a time of crisis.

When should I Develop My Plan?

Your plan should be started long before you are in need of Long Term Care, but should be updated as your situation changes. It is not ideal to be making decisions about your care while in the hospital or suddenly finding yourself in need of a higher level of care.

How do I Fund My Plan?

It is extremely important to financially prepare. The Cost of Long Term Care can be significant with the average cost of a Skilled Nursing Home around $6,000-7,000 a month, Assisted Living $2,500-4,000, and in home caregiving $22-30 per hour. Medicare and most health insurance will not pay for long term care, leaving the choices either private pay, long term care insurance, Aid and Attendance Pension (eligible Veterans) or ALTCS.

What Resources Are Available?

  • Area Agency on Aging’s Elder Resource Guide (Click Here)
  • Geriatric Care Managers (Click Here)
  • Private Fiduciary (Click Here)
  • Financial Adviser (Click Here)
  • Hospital, Home Health, and Hospice Social Workers and Case Managers


Article written by Rebecca Hampton, Lead Consultant for The Aging Advocate

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