8 Considerations for Long-term Care PlanningPosted on December 31, 2014 by ElderCare Resources Phoenix in Alzheimers Care, Blog, Caregiver Education, Dementia Care, Education, Elder Law, Long Term Care Information
Planning ahead for long-term care expenses
By Dennis Buckley
After receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, the cost of future care may not immediately come to mind. Paying for care is a big concern as Alzheimer’s progresses.
Financial planning often gets pushed aside because of the stress and fear the topic evokes. However, financial stress can be reduced by planning ahead for care costs. Putting financial plans in place as soon as the diagnosis has been made can help you secure a healthy financial future. The sooner planning begins, the more the person with dementia may be able to participate in decision making.
Learning about the types and costs of care is an important first step. In order to plan for financial needs during the course of Alzheimer’s disease, you’ll need to consider all the costs you might face now and in the future. Since Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, the type and level of care the individual needs will change over time. Additionally, care costs will vary depending upon where you live. Have a family meeting to discuss how much future care might cost and to make financial plans. Consider using professional legal and financial advisors for guidance. Make sure to ask the financial advisor if he or she is familiar with elder care or long-term care planning.
Common costs may include:
• Ongoing medical treatment
• Treatment or medical equipment for other medical conditions
• Safety-related expenses, such as home safety modifications or safety services for a person who wanders
• Prescription drugs
• Personal care supplies
• Adult day care services
• In-home care services
• Full-time residential care services, including assisted living and nursing homes
Financial needs, goals
Bring family together to talk about putting financial and care plans in place.
Discussing financial needs and goals early on enables the person with Alzheimer’s disease to understand the issues and clarify his or her wishes. Involve other concerned individuals as much as possible.
If others are available to help, encourage the sharing of caregiving duties. And discuss how finances might be pooled to provide necessary care. There are many ongoing financial duties to discuss, including paying bills, arranging for benefit claims, making investment decisions, and preparing tax returns.
Gather financial and legal documents
Gather and organize financial and legal documents in one place. Then, carefully review all documents, even if you’re already familiar with them. Legal documents include living wills, medical and durable powers of attorney and wills.
Financial documents include bank and brokerage account information, deeds, mortgage papers or ownership statements, insurance policies, monthly or outstanding bills, pension and other retirement benefit summaries, rental income paperwork, Social Security payment information and stock and bond certificates.
Studying these documents will help you get a handle on existing expenses, assets and income. At this point, it may be helpful to identify which necessary documents are not in place. Professional financial and legal advisers can assist you with this task. They can also help you identify financial resources and tax deductions to pay for care.