The world is getting older. With aging comes the decline in health, body, and mind. The consequences often mean we will need help with daily living activities or supervision due to dementia.
Few of us want to think about a time we will need help due to an illness, accident, or the frailty of aging. Yet, aging happens, and many of us will need long-term health care services.
Most long-term health care is delivered at home. There are more than 53 million unpaid family caregivers in the United States alone. Add to that number the number of professional caregivers and those working in long-term health care facilities like assisted living and nursing homes; there are a lot of people taking care of those who are older or have disabilities or memory loss.
Add to those numbers the people who provide hospice services to the 1.4 million people in the United States who need hospice in any given year. Some hospice providers are paid caregivers, and others volunteer their services.
There is a growing need for professional caregivers worldwide. Most caregivers of home health aides or certified nurse’s assistants since most care is help with daily living activities. These caregivers provide most of the long-term health care services. Nurses, physical therapists, and other professionals also provide some care as required.
It takes a special kind of person with dedication to perform the very personal care required as we age. Usually, a caregiver will do, at minimum, a four-hour shift. Many people start with receiving assistance three or four days a week. Some people will need many more hours, which will increase to daily as their needs increase over time.
Each person will have a different plan of care based on their individual needs. These needs will change as health changes, or their physical and cognitive abilities decline over time.
The life of a caregiver starts in the morning by helping the care recipient get up and ready for the day. This process can include helping the client out of bed, bathing, dressing, and grooming them. Caregivers will administer any necessary morning meds and, if necessary, help them with breakfast. After breakfast, the schedule will vary depending on the needs of the individual.
In the afternoon, caregivers will help the care recipient prepare and eat lunch, adhering to any dietary restrictions or needs. If they have any lunchtime medications they need to take, caregivers will administer them at this time. The afternoon is an excellent time for the care recipient to socialize with friends and family or get out of the house to do some activities, depending on their abilities. Caregivers may take them for a walk or aid them in running some errands.
In the evening, caregivers will help the care recipient with dinner and administer any necessary dinner medication. After dinner, the care recipient may want to relax at watch TV. Some people may want to take a little stroll before bed.
This part of the schedule will vary depending on their individual needs. Once it's time for sleep, the caregiver will help them with their nightly routine. This process can include bathing, grooming, putting on pajamas, and getting into bed.
Near the end of life, many of us will need hospice care to make ourselves more comfortable. The Hospice Foundation defines hospice as the medical care for those with an anticipated life expectancy of 6 months or less. The care focus shifts to symptom management and quality of life.
Hospice caregivers provide many services, including psychological and social support, pain and symptom control, and other services to assist the terminally ill live comfortably.
The hospice care team includes many caring and trained professionals, including a nurse, hospice aide, social worker, chaplain, bereavement coordinator, physical, occupational, speech, or dietary therapists, spiritual and/or grief counselors, and volunteers overseen by the hospice director.
There is a growing need for hospice workers, and many are volunteers. If this is something you're passionate about or know someone who may be, you should check out these tips for volunteering as a caregiver.
Aging Has Consequences on Families and Finances
Preparing for the consequences of aging and the changes you will encounter as you get older will make aging easier for you and your family when the time comes.
These are not easy things to think about, and too many people ignore the problem - until the time of need occurs, placing the family into crisis mode.
Be sure to get your paperwork in order. Things like a will, living will, and powers of attorney for health and medical, will be beneficial. Consider adding Long-Term Care Insurance to your retirement plan. The policy will provide tax-free benefits to pay for quality care services at home or in a facility.
Act Sooner Than Later
The time to start thinking - and acting on these things is before you get older and your health declines. Try not to wait until you are over 60. Most people obtain Long-Term Care Insurance in their 50s. Wills and POAs can always be updated over time.
Caregivers face many demands, physical and emotional. Family caregivers are not usually qualified and are typically untrained and unprepared to be caregivers. In surveys, most people want their loved ones to have the time to be family instead of having to be caregivers.
Understand that long-term health care impacts your family and finances. The cost of professional care is expensive. Planning makes it easier for everyone.
About the Author
Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.
Contributor since September 25th, 2020
Long-term health care costs are rising sharply, and economic uncertainty and inflation can make it much worse on your budget in the years ahead. Adult children are not qualified to provide care, and it is tough to juggle caregiving with careers and family responsibilities.
Today's Long-Term Care Insurance is affordable, safeguards savings, and eases family stress. Consider LTC Insurance has insurance for your 401(k). But remember, while long-term health care is a cash flow problem ... it is also a family problem. Planning helps with both issues.
Most people obtain coverage in their 50s when premiums are lower, and their health allows them to enjoy the most options.
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A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.
Planning Tools and Resources Available on LTC NEWS
Planning for the future is never easy, but long-term health care planning can be very complicated and comes with many emotions. Getting the right tools and resources will make the process much easier.
One of the goals is to reduce the stress and anxiety usually placed on your family at the time of crisis. LTC NEWS can be beneficial in providing you with important information for you to consider.
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The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator will show you the current and future cost of long-term health care services where you live. Plus, each state has vital state-specific information you should know - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News
The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide is an outstanding read to help you get a good overview of the topic area.
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A detailed tax guide that includes available tax incentives can be found by reviewing the Long-Term Care Tax Benefits Guide.
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Does Mom or Dad Need Help Now?
If your family is already in crisis and you need to find help and the right care services for mom or dad, LTC NEWS can help. We have put together several comprehensive guides to help you in your process.
Start by reading our four guides -
If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea.
Get Assistance in Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim
Many insurance companies have issued Long-Term Care Insurance policies over the years. Filing a claim can sometimes be complicated unless you know what to do or get expert help and assistance.
Don't allow the claim process to stop you from using the benefits available in an LTC policy. Quality care obtained early will help provide a better quality of life and reduce the risk of a deep decline and facility care.
If you need help in starting the process of a Long-Term Care Insurance claim, LTC NEWS can help. LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you or a loved one complete the claims process with a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. We have teamed up with Amada Senior Care, who will do all the work - free with no obligation.
Get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News.
Advantages of Reverse Mortgages
Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance. You might be eligible at younger ages as well.
Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, and even help with cash flow during your retirement.
Learn more by asking questions to an expert. Mike Banner, LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages.
- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.
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