Understanding Long Term Care Needs for Residents of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Staten Island and Nassau County.
“About 70 percent of people over age 65 need some type of long-term care during their lifetime. More than 40 percent need care in a nursing home for some period of time,” says the National Institute of Health (NIH). According to the NIH, what is termed long term care (LTC) can actually last for a long time or a short time. Long term care can be delivered in an institutional setting or the home. It would depend on the specific situation and needs of the patient.
What is Long Term Care?
LTC has become a very broad term and evolved into a term for the type of care required rather than the time period. A patient might require long term care due to a sudden illness or injury. In that case, rehabilitative therapy may be required in a long term facility such as a nursing home. On the other hand, the patient might need long term, on-going care due to disease progression such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. Even when care does not dictate admission to a facility, the intense demands of caregiving may make paid LTC with a home health aide a necessity.
We usually think of LTC with respect to our elderly population, (about 60% of individuals over age 65 will require services). LTC is also provided to younger individuals (about 40% of those receiving services are between age 18 and 64). As such, we need to start thinking about LTC and its associated supports and insurance sooner than once considered.
In the case of an elderly person, the need for care can be the result of a sudden event such as a fall or stroke or it can develop more gradually. You might notice signs and symptoms of your senior loved one faltering over the course of months or even years. Once you start noticing your loved one might need help, you will want to begin acquainting yourself with various services you may need in the future.
Before it comes to the point where total personal care is required for their activities of daily living (ADLs) like bathing, grooming and dressing, other ancillary services might be necessary. For example, there are transportation services such as Access-A-Ride when the senior is no longer driving. There are also meal plans such as Meals on Wheels once the senior is no longer able to shop and cook their own meals. Also, there is adult day care and senior centers to help get them out to socialize and keep active.
Remaining at home means you must make sure the environment is safe and there is enough coverage. This is when elder proofing and emergency response systems in the form of a necklace, bracelet or watch can come in handy. It can be crucial should the senior fall or have a catastrophic event while alone.
In terms of paying for in-home care services, government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid should be explored in addition to any veteran’s benefits and social security. With nursing home care being so expensive and Medicaid eligibility requirements, there are elder law attorneys, financial planners and geriatric care managers that specialize in spending down assets to take advantage of Medicaid funding.
Aside from personal savings, there is long term care insurance available with a variety of options and various levels of coverage. This is less expensive the earlier you sign on. LTC insurance covers care not covered by health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. It also protects your savings accounts from becoming depleted by the increasing costs of healthcare. Premiums may be tax deductible, in some cases up to 100%. Having LTC insurance also eliminates the burden to family members who would be providing this care.
Financial planners can help make investments taking into account long time horizons. Some recommend taking out a reverse mortgage on your home to fund eldercare. Some life insurance policies will allow for an accelerated death benefit or a home healthcare rider to pay for eldercare with the disbursed sum to be deducted from the eventual payout.
David York Agency has relationships with many elder law attorneys and financial planners should you need to consult with one.