Planning for the Future: Long-Term Care and Advance Directives

Recently I attended a training regarding long-term care planning that really got me thinking about what I could be doing now that may help my family and me in the future.  For many, this is a difficult topic to think about.  No one wants to plan their end-of-life care, or make arrangements for a nursing home when they are relatively young and relatively healthy.  But the reality is, we do not have a crystal ball, and we cannot predict the future.

According to the presentation, approximately 70% of Americans eventually require some form of long-term care.  With the cost of some facilities ranging from $5000 to $10,000 a month, the idea of self-pay is extremely unrealistic.  Currently, Medicare does not provide long-term care insurance that would provide the additional support for care facilities.  So unless you have a private long-term care insurance plan, or can meet the income guideline for Medicaid, you are stuck paying out-of-pocket for care.  With that being said, it is important to look into long-term care insurance plans early on to hopefully purchase a plan with a decent rate.

Another important tip presented was about having the discussions with your loved ones and family members regarding end-of-life decisions.  This can be a very challenging conversation to have; death and dying are often difficult subjects.  But less than 20% of Americans have an Advanced Directive or a living will.  For the 80% that do not, I am sure a large portion of them have never discussed their wishes with a family member.  Without an Advance Directive, doctors, nurses, and EMT’s will continue to provide life supporting help to prolong your life.  By creating an Advance Directive and creating an end-of-life plan, you are ensuring that your wishes will be followed.

In order to complete an Advance Directive, you must be 18 years of age and of sound mind.  The document must be in writing and signed by two adult witnesses.  It is suggested that you provide a copy of the Advance Directive to your doctor or care facility and provide a copy to a trusting family member.  It was suggested that Advance Directives and other important information should not be kept in a lock box, rather, a storage cabinet along with other documents that may need to be accessed by family members.

This training was an eye opener for me and as if I wasn’t already a neurotic “what if” planner, provided some valuable information.  I wanted to share some of the things I learned in this blog, with hopes to spread the word along to others.

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