Mom or Dad Need Long-Term Health Care - Start with a Family Meeting

It can come up fast. Mom or Dad's health declines, they have a fall, or they are suffering from dementia and need long-term health care. Now what? A family meeting is the first step.

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Mom or Dad Need Long-Term Health Care - Start with a Family Meeting
2 Min Read November 23rd, 2021 Updated:August 29th, 2022

Sadly, most individuals don't give growing older any thought; it just happens. Families may experience a crisis if they are unprepared for a parent's diminishing health, mobility, and cognitive impairment. This is especially true if there was no preparation or prior conversation.

Older persons may begin to require assistance with daily living activities for a variety of reasons, including dementia, a rapid change in health, a fall that necessitates a trip to the emergency room. The family is frequently ignorant of these changes or denies their parents' aging.

Many older adults can take care of themselves until they experience a health crisis, according to Kenneth Covinsky, MD, of the UCSF Division of Geriatrics

"They may have been able to walk without help, shower, dress and manage their medications, but after a health shock, they can no longer do so. This question can identify those at risk."

Failing to Plan Creates Crisis

Lack of planning results in a crisis. Who will take care of their loved one and how? Is professional home care covered by insurance, or will a long-term care facility be needed instead? Which of the siblings will take care of the parent if there is no insurance? Is there enough money to pay for some care in a facility or at home? Is Medicaid a possibility?

These are important questions that need to be addressed, and if a parent doesn't have a plan and the family hasn't talked about it beforehand, it could cause strife.

The CDC says that caregiving responsibilities can increase and change as the care recipient's needs increase, which may result in additional strain on the caregiver. Most informal family caregivers are untrained and unprepared for this emotionally and physically demanding job.

Remember that health insurance, including Medicare, pays for a minimal amount of skilled long-term health care. Medicaid only will pay if the individual has little or no income and assets. Long-Term Care Insurance will pay for long-term health care, but you cannot purchase a policy once someone's health has substantially declined.

Family Caregivers Face Numerous Challenges

Approximately 53 million Americans provide unpaid care for an adult family member or friend, and nearly 60% also work a paying job.

"Caregivers can be unpaid family members or friends or paid caregivers. Informal or unpaid caregivers are the backbone of long-term care provided in people's homes. In particular, middle-aged and older adults provide a substantial portion of this care in the U.S., as they care for children, parents, or spouses."

Long-term health care costs, be it in-home care or facility care, are spiraling due to increasing demand and higher labor costs. Many people do not have Long-Term Care Insurance to cover these costs, and the family often become default caregivers before they start using their parent's money to pay for professional care.

When the crisis starts, the first thing is to get everyone together and have a meeting. Before the meeting, someone should see if there is any plan in place. Power-of-attorney, Long-Term Care Insurance, and living wills will be helpful. An understanding of a parent's finances and where the assets are located is also critical.

Understanding Reduces Family Conflict

Understanding the facts will reduce sibling conflict, which is common when a family is in a crisis. Siblings need to understand everyone has their own responsibilities, including careers and jobs, that must be balanced with any needs a parent may require. Some occupations may make it harder to take time off than others.

Being a caregiver is demanding on family members, professional care is costly, and the costs are rising yearly. When a parent needs care, it will affect everyone in the family, and that's why caregiver family meetings are so important.

Family Meeting Suggestions

The website' Daily Caring' offers these meeting suggestions - Caregiver Family Meetings: 5 Keys to Success – DailyCaring

LTC NEWS has a guide that helps answer the question "now what?" when a loved one requires care. Most people want to stay in their homes, so in-home is often preferable - Finding Quality In-Home Care | LTC News

There are also other guides available that can be very helpful:

Do They Own Long-Term Care Insurance?

Be sure to see if Mom or Dad has a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. If you are unsure, look at their checkbook for clues. Sometimes parents don't tell their adult children they purchased a policy.

Do not delay using the benefits if you discover they have a policy. If you cannot locate the insurance agent, you can get assistance in processing the claim. LTC NEWS has arranged for free - no-obligation claim processing and care coordination - even assistance in finding caregivers and facilities whether or not you have an LTC policy - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

Prepared for Your Aging?

Take a few minutes to consider if you are prepared for the future costs and burdens of aging and changing health. Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance keeps you in control, giving you your choice of quality care options in your desired setting. 

Safeguard income and assets and ease family stress by adding an LTC Insurance policy to your retirement plan. The best time to obtain coverage is in your 40s or 50s.

Seek help from a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you find the best coverage at the best value - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

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About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

LTC News Contributor James Kelly

James Kelly

Contributor since August 21st, 2017

Editor's Note

You can't ignore getting older. Your health and body are not like it was 25 years ago. The decline in health, body, and mind increases the need for help with daily living activities or supervision due to memory loss.

Avoid a family crisis in your family and give your loved ones the time to be family instead of caregivers. The solution is affordable Long-Term Care Insurance. You will have guaranteed tax-free benefits, giving you access to your choice of quality care in the setting you desire.

Available Resources on LTC NEWS

LTC NEWS offers several tools and resources to help 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 can put together several resources, including:

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Seek Professional Advice

Experts suggest using a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you navigate the many options available to you and your family. Insurance rates are regulated, so no insurance agent, agency, or financial advisor can give you special deals. However, premiums do vary over 100% between insurance companies for the same coverage.

A specialist who works with the top companies can match your age, health, family history, and other factors and find you the best coverage at the best value. A specialist will save you money, and you will have the peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

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" Mike Banner 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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There are various marketing options available with LTC NEWS. Traditional advertising, sponsored content articles, and strategic alliances, and more are available. 

Learn more about how LTC NEWS can help you market your business, drive traffic, and improve SEO - Advertise With Us | LTC News.

Share Your Knowledge - Be A Guest Contributor for LTC NEWS

LTC NEWS is open to contributors to share their stories with the world. 

You can write a story or ongoing column for LTC NEWS. You can write about many topics, including aging, caregiving, health, lifestyle, retirement planning, and long-term care, to name a few.

Be sure to write for our core target audience of adults aged 40 and older. Our audience is worldwide; however, our primary target is the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other English-speaking nations. 

Improve your website or blog's SEO and gain exposure and traffic at the same time by being a contributor to LTC NEWS. 

You can even promote yourself, your business, and your website or blog. However, it must have editorial content exclusive for LTC NEWS and cannot be just an advertisement. It can include links to other sites, and you can share the article link once published on your website or social media.

Email your story idea or article: - LTC News Contributors | LTC News

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Let's work together and help consumers who search for us on the web - Site Request | LTC News.

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