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Start Planning Now for Long-Term Care

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No one likes to contemplate a future that involves needing long-term care.  In fact, I have yet to meet a client that aims to achieve the goal of residing in a nursing home one day.  When sitting with clients, and their families, it seems as though most would like to skip the long-term care conversation altogether.

However, the conversation is a very necessary one.  National statistics show that 70% of people over age 65 will require some type of long-term care.  With such a high percentage, we must each ask ourselves: “Have I adequately planned for my long-term care needs?”

Adding credence to the need to plan ahead, we need to take some factors into account.  Due to medical improvements, we are living longer which also means that many are out living their finances.  In addition, medical costs are high and continuing to rise.    

In the past, it was quite common that children and/or extended family would provide long-term care for those family members that needed such assistance.  Unfortunately, this type of familial care is more the exception rather than the norm now.  That is not to say that families are less caring now.  This dynamic is more of a reflection of changes in society. 

For example, and for financial reasons, there are many marriages where both spouses work and have a difficult time caring for their respective parents or grandparents.  We even have an expanding generation, called the “sandwich generation”, that includes those that are caring for their parents while simultaneously having to take care of their children.  Also, and as many of you know firsthand, families can be spread out geographically which makes caregiving that much more difficult.

The best way I know to counsel families on this issue is to plan ahead for it.  Like I mentioned, the likelihood is that we are all going to need long-term care at some point.  I have helped many families in crisis cases where clients have not afforded themselves the options that others have due to a lack of foresight on this issue.  To avoid such a crisis, and to plan to have the type of care you truly desire, you should consider contacting a knowledgeable Elder Law Attorney (preferably one that is Board Certified in Elder Law) to assist you in creating a plan that will suit your needs.

Jason A. Penrod is one of twenty attorneys to be Board Certified as an Elder Law Expert by the Florida Bar and the National Elder Law Foundation.  He is the founder of Family Elder Law (www.familyelderlaw.com) which has offices in Lakeland, Lake Wales, and Sebring, Florida.

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