When you’re in charge of a loved one’s well-being, every decision counts. One of the most powerful moves you can make as a caregiver is to prepare for the future. You may not have a crystal ball, but you can still anticipate what tomorrow might bring. Your loved one’s situation could change in an instant—are you ready if it does? Here’s a look at a few of the things caregivers need to consider for the loved one’s long-term care:
Understand Financial Matters
One of the first things you should think about is the financial situation of the person you are caring for. Medical care adds up, even if your loved one has a good Long-Term Care Insurance policy. That’s not to mention their cost of living. When older loved ones are living on a fixed income, some of the most important interventions for their health can feel completely inaccessible. That’s why you need to speak with them to understand their financial situation and suggest changes if necessary.
If your loved one isn’t in a stable financial position, you may have to work with them to come up with a solution. For example, if they own their home, they may want to consider marketing the property, or moving out and finding tenants to gain additional passive income. Getting buyers or renters is a little more complicated during COVID-19, but video tours, virtual open houses, and other digital options make reaching interested parties possible.
If your loved one does decide to move out, make sure their new situation won’t cost them more in the long run. For example, it’s not a good financial call to invest in a new property if they expect to move into assisted living in the near future. Renting may or may be useful, but only if it lowers their monthly living costs. Go through all of their options with them, especially if you are suspicious or certain of any cognitive decline. As Forbes notes, older people and those with disabilities are vulnerable to housing scams, so be their advocate and protector through the process.
Gain Power of Attorney
If you don’t already have your loved one’s power-of-attorney, get it done as soon as possible. A power-of-attorney allows you to take over for medical and financial decision-making should your loved one no longer be able to make those decisions for themselves. It’s essential to get this work done while your loved one is still able to do so—if they’re declining, they may become unfit to hand power of attorney over. If it’s not already completed and other end-of-life decisions have not been made, you’ll have to go through the court system to take over, and you could lose valuable time.
Speak with Your Loved One
At the end of the day, the most important part of planning for your loved one’s future is your loved one. If you haven’t done so—or even if you haven’t done so recently—Caring.com recommends sitting down and having a frank conversation about what your senior wants going forward. If they want something unrealistic, address it. For example, they may want to move out of their home and come live with you. If that’s feasible, you can discuss it, but if it’s not, you need to work together to come up with an alternative.
To that end, consider setting up tours with the assisted living communities in your area. Doing so before your loved one actually needs this kind of facility gives you the ability to take information in without any pressure. This means your loved one can be as picky and critical as they’d like, without any urgency to pick something as quickly as possible. Not only will this allow you to get your loved one’s true input, but it can also make the process easier and less anxiety-inducing down the line.
These steps ensure that your loved one can get the best care, today and down the road. Look to the future, identify potential issues, and address them early so they don’t become big problems. Doing so is a powerful way to be the caregiver your loved one deserves.
Don't wait for a crisis to happen. Learn more about preparing in advance with trusts and wills - DIY Will - How to Write a Will without a Lawyer | Trust & Will (trustandwill.com) Preparing for aging and the costs and burdens that come with longevity should happen before retirement. Part of the planning should be long-term care. Get professional help with long-term health care planning by clicking here.
About the Author
Katybeth Dee was inspired to co-create Self Exam after her sister was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 23. Luckily it was caught in time, and her sister received the proper treatment. Through her site, she strives to offer support to those battling cancer by spreading awareness on preventing the illness as well as lending support to those currently facing their own medical battles.
Contributor since April 25th, 2020
Discussing the financial costs and burdens of aging is a vital part of retirement planning. The discussion is best done well before you retire when you have the most affordable options.
The need to have the financial resources for quality care at home is more important today than ever before. You want choices. Some people might like, when the time comes, to move into an assisted living facility. No matter your preferences or needs, having a selection of quality care will provide you and your family with peace-of-mind.
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Take action by researching your options. The tools available on LTC NEWS will help you plan. Start by reading The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide.
Be sure to seek the assistance of a qualified and experience Long-Term Care Insurance specialist. Local insurance agents and financial advisors typically make planning mistakes that cost you money. A specialist should work with the major insurance companies and have a comprehensive understanding of underwriting, policy design, the partnership program in 45 states, and claims.
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Reverse Mortgages Can Be Part of a Plan
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