As we were growing up, we depended on our parents for our needs. They took care of our daily needs, fed us, clothed us, sent us to school, and so many other things that we took for granted and perhaps look fondly on today.
There comes a point when the roles get reversed. Our parents become more dependent on us. Their independence slowly diminishes. Our parents may hide that their health and bodies are declining, but we see the signs.
When do we know that our parents need help and supervision? Every person ages differently. But there are several things to look for in deciding when to put in-home care - or even long-term care facility care in place for their own well-being and safety.
What to Look For
Here are some of the things to look for:
- Poor personal hygiene - If your parents are no longer bathing, wearing clean clothes, or brushing their teeth, these are not normal things to stop doing when you get older.
- Unexplained weight loss or gain - If mom or dad is losing weight - or suddenly gaining weight - this could signify a significant change in their dietary habits, which could indicate a decline.
- Unused medications - Always check their medications. If it appears they are not taking their medications correctly, it could be they are forgetting.
- Expired groceries - Check the expiration dates on food. If you find many expired items, this might be a sign they are not paying attention to important details or forgetting.
- Cluttered home - If their home is messy and they usually kept it clean and uncluttered in the past, this could also be a sign of decline.
- Unexplained bruises - Falls are not normal, and if there is evidence of them falling, you need to take action immediately. A fall in a bathroom, for example, can result in serious health problems or even death.
- Unpaid bills - If their mail is piling up and you see late notices on bills, they may have some memory decline.
Families Find Themselves in Crisis
When Mom or Dad's health starts declining, and they need long-term care, it can create a crisis within the family. What steps should be taken? What are the costs of paid care services? These issues are challenging for most families and sometimes can tear families apart.
Remember, being a caregiver for your mom or dad is not always possible or recommended due to the physical and emotional demands. If you find they need help with daily living activities, understand that their health insurance, which for anyone age 65 and older will be Medicare with some type of supplement, will not pay for most long-term health care services.
Do They Own LTC Insurance?
Medicaid will only pay for long-term care services when the care recipient has little or no income and savings. If they own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, consider yourself lucky. Seek help to process the claim - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News.
As you deal with the stress of a loved one in declining health, take a moment and consider what steps you have taken to lessen the financial strain and the family pressure that long-term care places on everyone.
Many people add Long-Term Care Insurance to their retirement plans. Long-Term Care Insurance works by helping people protect their assets and choose the type and location of their future care.
Find Quality Caregivers and Long-Term Care Facilities
If your parent or loved one needs care now - or soon - you will need to find the appropriate care in the right setting depending on their needs.
Take a moment and read -
LTC Insurance Works – Women Especially Benefit
In 2021 the top insurance companies paid over $12.3 Billion in Long-Term Care Insurance benefits - Over $12 Billion in Long-Term Care Insurance Claims Paid in 2021 | LTC News. A large amount of these benefits paid for in-home care.
Women benefit significantly from Long-Term Care Insurance. First, they typically become caregivers when a male spouse starts to decline. An LTC policy helps the spouse provide the proper care without causing physical or emotional stress.
Secondly, when a woman starts to need care herself, the male spouse is either unable to provide the care at all or has passed away. The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) completed an analysis of claims showing LTC Insurance's significance for women.
The analysis reported data on 5,439 policyholders studied by the Connecticut Partnership for Long-Term Care.
"Over half (59%) of the claims were women, and 41 percent of all claimants were not married at the time. That's important because many people are married when they start planning but should understand they may not have a spouse to provide care at older ages," said Jesse Slome, the Director of the AALTCI.
Slome said the largest claim was for $1.9 Million, although average claims were lower but still costly.
"Those very large claims are definitely a risk, but our analysis of years of long-term care insurance statistics validate my position that some amount of protection is always better than having none," Slome said.
LTC Insurance Should Be Obtained Before Retirement
Not only is Long-Term Care Insurance substantially less expensive in your 40s and 50s, but there are also more options available. The analysis found that 80 was the mean age at the time of claim. While the need for care may happen at older ages, planning should occur when you are younger and healthier. Plus, good health is essential in obtaining the best and least costly options.
Slome recommends seeking the help of a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you shop and design the best coverage at the least cost. Insurance premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies.
Insurance premiums are regulated, so every insurance company must file both their products and pricing with each state's insurance department. No individual agent, agency, or advisor can give you special deals outside the pricing approved by the state.
Underwriting criteria also vary between insurance companies. Be sure the specialist works with the major companies and fully understands underwriting.
About the Author
Linda is a freelance writer interested in retirement planning, health and aging.
Contributor since October 31st, 2017
Do people benefit from Long-Term Care Insurance? Absolutely. The benefits are not just in money to pay for quality care services. Long-Term Care Insurance benefits families.
Family caregivers face tremendous stress and anxiety. Money runs short, and some family members start thinking about lost inheritance. Siblings often fight as to what to do and who will do it.
The easy and affordable solution is Long-Term Care Insurance. Don't delay, however. The ideal time to add a Long-Term Care Insurance policy to your retirement plan is when you are in your 40s or 50s - most people obtain coverage in their 50s.
To obtain coverage, you must have reasonably good health, but insurance company's underwriting standards are different. Seek the help of a qualified specialist and be sure they ask very detailed health and family history questions before they make recommendations and give you quotes.
Planning Tools and Resources on LTC NEWS
You can find many tools and resources on LTC NEWS to assist you in your research for a planning solution or help your family find the appropriate care for a loved one at the time of crisis.
To help you plan for the future costs and burdens of changing health and aging, LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:
- 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.
- Compare the major insurance companies that offer Long-Term Care Insurance products here - Top Insurers for Long-Term Care Insurance | LTC News.
- A detailed tax guide that includes available tax incentives can be found by reviewing the Long-Term Care Tax Benefits Guide.
Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.
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Benefits 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.
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, even help with cash flow during your retirement.
Learn more by asking questions to an expert. 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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