Even if you are able to stay in your current home, chances are you’ll need some assistance, such as home care. If you are purchasing long-term care insurance to pay for in-home care, there are resources available to help you through this process. If you work with a financial advisor, ask him or her to sit down with you and answer any questions you have and make sure you feel comfortable with what you are purchasing. The National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information (www.longtermcare.gov/LTC/Main_Site/index.aspx) has a lot of good information to review.
Consider the following points in order to adequately plan for the future:
Address assumptions. Many individuals are not aware that Medicare and other public programs cover a very limited scope of in-home care—the day-to-day chores that many require assistance with, such as housekeeping, meal preparation, bathing, dressing and grooming are not covered by Medicare. Medicare is “medical insurance” and therefore only covers medical issues such as wound care, IV administration of medications, physical therapy and some durable medical equipment.
Address the “what-ifs.” You are incredibly fortunate if you have a family member who would be able to provide all the care you need. Most people don’t and will need to hire help.
One of the easiest issues to address is hiring someone to do your housekeeping.
If you will be undergoing surgery, you will probably need to hire someone to help you afterward.
If your driving is impaired by declining vision or mobility, you will need to make arrangements for transportation. Dial-A-Ride, ACCESS, hiring a driver or relying on friends and family are all viable options.
Be aware of safety concerns. Complete a fall prevention checklist and consider changes to help prevent falls, as well as devices such as a personal emergency response system in case you face an emergency. According to the Consumer Product Safety Council, after the age of 65, 6 out of 10 visits a person will make to a hospital emergency room are the result of a fall in or around the home. And according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, 30 percent of people over the age of 65 fall each year. About 40 percent of those falls are preventable.
Discuss your options for insurance, healthcare and finances as well as your priorities with key people, including family members and professional advisors.
NANCY TURNEY received a bachelor's degree in social work and a certificate in gerontology. If you have a specific question you would like answered in this column, e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Turney at the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA, (818) 790-0123, ext. 225.