The Holidays – Great Time to Review Long Term Care Issues

The holidays bring families together. Many times you get to see family members you have not seen in sometime. This is a good time check on how older relatives are doing and evaluate your own planning for the physical, emotional and financial burdens Long Term Health Care can have on loved ones.

Before you review how your retirement plans deal with Long Term Health Care, use the holidays to spot changes in aging relatives. This may help avoid the crisis planning that comes when an issue is forced on a family. 

Look to spot personality or behavior changes that sometimes go unnoticed by those who see your loved one on a regular basis. It is important to speak-up about these issues with other family members so proper planning can be done prior to a crisis.

Matt McCann, a nationally recognized specialist in Long Term Health Care Planning, says to look for things like a relative repeating the same story over and over or general forgetfulness. Also look at overall confusion, neglect of appearance and hygiene, and balance issues.

“If you notice some of these things you should start asking more questions. The loved one may require help with normal activities of daily living or even supervision due to memory issues,” McCann said.

McCann says families need to be aware of the aging issues of family members and address these changes for their own protection.

“We brush off these changes as natural aging problems. However, some aging issues need to be addressed to help the overall welfare of the individual,” McCann noted.

He also suggests reviewing if the loved one has Long Term Care Insurance, and key documents such as powers of attorneys and healthcare directives.

McCann suggests you also review your own retirement plan and assess how you would pay for extended Long Term Health Care. Health insurance and Medicare will pay only a very limited amount for Long Term Care. This means the cost will come out-of-pocket which places a huge financial burden on your family. Affordable Long Term Care Insurance can pay for care and provide services which will protect assets and relieve the burden on family.

“Long Term Care insurance protects your 401k’s, IRA’s and other assets. It also allows the family to be family and not caregivers. Most of the people I speak with are ages 45 to 65 when planning is generally much more affordable and coverage easier to obtain,” McCann explained. “This is something you want to do when you are younger and more healthy. Premiums are based on the age and health at the time of application.”

He also notes that most states have partnership programs which provide additional asset protection. 43 states have passed milestone legislation creating a public-private “Long Term Care Partnership” which provides dollar-for-dollar asset protection or what is called “asset disregard”. Tax incentives also are available.

Consumers can learn more about Long Term Health Care Planning by going to his website: http://mccannltc.net/. Additional online resources include:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: http://longtermcare.gov/

American Association for Long Term Care Insurance: http://www.aaltci.org/

Long Term Care Planning News: http://www.longtermcareplanningnews.com/

Life Happens: http://www.lifehappens.org/insurance-overview/long-term-care-insurance/

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