Planning for the Future: What You Need to Know About Long-Term Care Planning
According to the United States Census Bureau, there are approximately 73 million Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964. Nearly half are already in retirement, and by 2030, all Boomers will be at least 65 years of age. As more and more Boomers near retirement, it’s important for them to have a plan for their future.
October is National Long-Term Care Planning Month. Its purpose is to encourage older adults to consider their future care needs. While it’s impossible to predict every care need, it is possible to become familiar with the type of care available for seniors as they age. Taking the time to make a tentative plan now can save older adults and their families a lot of headaches in the future.
If you’ve been procrastinating in your long-term care planning, it’s time to put a plan in place. Here’s what you need to know about long-term care planning and a few simple steps you can take to activate your plan.
Formalize Your Will
All adults should have a formal will. A will is a legal document that states how you desire your assets to be distributed upon your death. If you do not have a will, your wishes may not be carried out. In fact, your property or estate may be dealt with by the state in which you reside, which may cause family strife. You don’t necessarily need to involve a lawyer to create a will but working with a lawyer will ensure that you haven’t overlooked anything important. A lawyer can also guide you should you desire to set up a trust in addition to a will. As you formalize your will, consider designating an executor, someone you trust to carry out the provisions of your will and beneficiaries.
Name a Power of Attorney
While you’re formalizing your will, consider naming a power of attorney (POA) for health and finances. This could be the same person, or you could name two separate people. Many older adults fear officially naming a POA because they think they’ll no longer have a say over their health and finances. This is not the case. A POA only comes into play when you are incapacitated. Once you’ve chosen your POA, have a conversation with them about your preferences should you become incapacitated. While you can include your wishes in your will, most of the time critical decisions need to be made before your POA has had time to access your will.
Learn the Difference Between Medicare and Medi-Cal
One of the biggest mistakes older adults make when planning for long-term care is assuming that the government will cover the cost of care through programs like Medicare or Medi-Cal. However, these programs have limitations and shouldn’t be your sole long-term care plan. Both Medicare and Medi-Cal are government insurance programs. Medicare is for adults over the age of 65, covers a variety of skilled care services and/or medical equipment, but has strict limits set in place. Medi-Cal is for anyone who meets the financial qualification. Learning more about what you can expect to receive under either program will help you select the right long-term care insurance policy.
Purchase a Long-Term Care Insurance Policy
Finally, long-term care planning should include purchasing a long-term care policy. If you’re in your 50s or 60s, now is the time to shop around. Before you purchase a policy, do you research and consider your individual risk for needing long-term care. Most long-term care insurance policies have a waiting period of about three months before insurance kicks in.
As you begin your journey into long-term care planning, where do you see yourself aging? If your goal is to remain in the comfort of your own home, then Visiting Angels of Santa Clarita is here to help you achieve that goal. Our compassionate caregivers come to you to assist with grooming, light housekeeping, laundry, and more. Please contact us today by calling 661-263-2273 and make us a part of your long-term care plan.