• Aging with Dignity: How Long-Term Care Insurance Makes a Difference

    Posted on July 1, 2024 by in Uncategorized

    Long-term care insurance can play a significant role in facilitating aging in place, which refers to the ability of elderly individuals to live independently and comfortably in their own homes or communities for as long as possible. In fact, according to the Administration on Aging, someone turning age 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services and support in their remaining years. I get questions all the time about how long-term care can really support aging in place, what that looks like, and why planning for the future helps everyone. 

    If a person has a stroke or is in a bad accident, medical insurance will help cover their medical bills. However, medical insurance will not provide assistance (financial or otherwise) with the “Activities of Daily Living”, and this is where Long-Term Care Insurance comes into play.

    The Activities of Daily Living, also known as ADLs, determine benefits of long-term care being paid. One way to remember the ADLs is to think about all the things you do within the first hour of waking up:
    – Getting in and out of a chair (or bed)
    – Using the toilet
    – Walking
    – Bathing/Showering
    – Dressing
    – Eating

    If a person is not able to safely perform two of the above ADLs, they will qualify to receive benefits from their Long-Term Care carrier.

    Sometimes, a person is physically healthy and has no problem with the above ADLs but has had cognitive decline where they have trouble managing their finances, or executive functioning has declined where it’s not safe for them to be left alone.  In this case, a person would qualify to receive benefits.

    Long-term care benefits are paid when a person cannot safely perform two of the six ADLs or has cognitive decline that prevents them from living independently in a safe manner.

    The benefits of most Long-Term Care plans cover many types of services.

    In-home Care Services Coverage:   Most people want to stay in their homes as long as possible, and the insurance companies understand that.  Did you know that 80% of long-term care is received in the home?  It might still be possible to purchase a policy that only covers services in a facility, but you’d be hard-pressed.  Most policies pay for or reimburse a wide range of in-home care services, such as assistance with bathing, dressing, and meal preparation. Sometimes, people need help shopping, going to doctor’s appointments, or someone to take them to the park.  These services would be covered by Long-Term Care Insurance, as long as the person has problems with 2 of the 6 ADLs or cognitive decline that indicates it’s not safe for them to be independent..

    Home Modifications: Some long-term care insurance policies cover the cost of home modifications or adaptive equipment that can make aging in place safer and more manageable. This might include installing bathroom grab bars, widening doorways for wheelchair access, and adding stairlifts and/or ramps.

    Care Coordination Services: This is one of the most overlooked benefits, and most companies provide this service according to their policies.  Care coordination services help individuals and their families assess how to best support the person needing care and their loved ones.  They can help identify the most helpful services and coordinate with agencies and care providers. Care coordinators can help arrange and manage various aspects of care, ensuring that all necessary services are in place to support independent living.

    Respite Care for Family Caregivers: Long-term care insurance may cover respite care services, allowing family caregivers to take much-needed breaks from their caregiving responsibilities. This support can prevent caregiver burnout and enable family members to continue providing care for their loved ones at home.

    Assisted Living Facility and Alternatives: In some cases, a person might want or need alternative forms of care like assisted living, adult day care programs, or community-based services. These options allow elderly individuals to receive support and socialization while still residing in their own homes or facility.

    Financial Flexibility: By covering a portion of the costs associated with aging in place, long-term care insurance provides financial flexibility for elderly individuals and their families. This can help alleviate concerns about affordability and enable individuals to access the services they need to remain independent for as long as possible. The peace of mind that long-term care insurance brings is priceless. Supporting a loved one, parent, or yourself in living their best independent life by providing coverage for in-home care services, home modifications, care coordination, respite care, and alternative assisted living options eases burdens and guilt and fosters peace of mind.  By supporting individuals in their desire to remain in their own homes and communities, I help my clients maintain dignity and wellness in aging. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out: carly@cjbins.com.

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