Long-term Care Simplified

Long-term Care Simplified

There is a lot of misunderstanding regarding long-term care. Some people confuse it with medical services and think that it is at least partially paid for by Medicare. It is not.

Long-term care does not include medical care. Rather, it is assistance with the “acts of daily living” (called ADLs) such as eating, bathing, dressing, continence (inability to control one’s bowel or bladder function), transferring (getting in or out of a chair or bed), and toileting.

Assistance with these activities does not require a medical professional such as a nurse, medical technician, or physician. Further, long-term care may be provided at the person’s home, in a facility such as a “nursing home,” or in a “day-care” setting.

In many families assistance with ADLs is taken care of by a family member until the assistance requires physical strength beyond the caregiver’s (such as lifting or carrying person needing assistance). At that point the person needing assistance can be better cared for by professionals, either at home or in a facility.

In many cases the person needing assistance does not want their spouse or their child to attend to these duties. They do not want to impose or “be a burden” on their loved ones. Paying a professional caregiver for these services preserves their pride and independence.

Usually the need for long-term care services starts gradually and can easily be done at home. It is not unusual for a family member provide the care during the early phase when the person needing care is ambulatory and can handle many of the ADLs without assistance. As the need intensifies, a professional caregiver is added. Eventually the professional caregiver’s assistance is required for most of the care, perhaps in a facility.

As the foregoing progression occurs, so does the cost of the care. In Orange County the average daily rate for a nursing facility runs between $190 and $220 per day and is growing at 3.2% per year. It is, therefore, very important to plan for this eventuality.

The fact is statistics show that 75% of us will need at least some long-term care.

Some folks believe that they will never need long-term care. The fact is statistics show that 75% of us will need at least some long-term care.

This care is generally paid for in one of three ways: the person needing assistance spends from their estate; long-term care insurance is purchased to finance the care; and, if the person needing care is impoverished (has reduced their assets and has low income), MediCal (California’s Medicaid program) may cover their long-term care needs in a contracted facility.

For the people who think they may not need long-term care, there are policies available s that cover these expenses if needed and have a life insurance feature so that if long-term care is not needed, the long-term care pool of money left over is passed to heirs.

There are many options available for financing long-term care needs. We are prepared to assist you in understanding your choices at no cost or obligation to you. Just call (949) 374-3316.

C. Lawrence “Larry” Thomas

C. Lawrence “Larry” Thomas began working with long-term care and Medicare programs in the mid- 1980s. He is currently associated with Insurance 101 Services to provide long- term care solutions to seniors and those approaching. Larry can be reached at (949) 374-3316 or ltinsurance@me.com.
CA Insurance License # 0C79256.

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