Preparing for Long Term Care

My conversation with a client yesterday regarding his aging parents’ Long Term Care needs inspired this post. If you are the child of parents who are now over the age of 65, you’ve probably given at least some passing thought to the day when one of your parents may need Long Term Care. Perhaps that still seems a long way off, or perhaps you see some of the warning signs already. Either way, there are steps you can take now to make the transition to giving and receiving care later easier on both you and your parents.

First and foremost, talk about it with your parents. It may seem like a difficult subject to broach, but it is necessary if you want to be able to work cooperatively in the future. Find out if your parents have already thought about the topic, if they’ve made provisions for it, or if they have any specific wishes.

Second, encourage your parents to create an Estate Plan if they don’t have one already. An Estate Plan will be important in expressing your parents’ wishes on necessary issues such as preferred agents in case of incapacity, financial power of attorney, and health care decisions. These essential documents will prevent many expensive delays and frustrating red tape in the future.

Third, think about what steps you and your parents may need to take to prepare for the financial burden of Long Term Care, because there will be a financial burden. Mellody Hobson of ABC News has some suggestions on how to plan, and what your financial options are. She describes the more well-known options of Medicaid (we call it Medi-Cal in California) and Long Term Care Insurance, as well as some lesser known options such as a Dependent Care Account.

The most important thing to remember as you think and talk about these issues is that you don’t have to—and you shouldn’t—go through this alone. Elder Law and Long Term Care are intricate and convoluted subjects, and you can serve your parents and your family best by getting the help of caring professionals whose business it is to guide you smoothly through the ins and outs of Elder Care. This includes professionals such as doctors, geriatric care managers, financial advisors, and yes—estate planning attorneys. Let us help you look into the future with confidence and clear eyes.