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You have a 70% chance of needing long-term care by the time you turn 65. It’s a harsh statistic, but an important one to know. That’s why, each October, we observe long-term care planning month. It’s an event that serves as a great reminder that each of us needs to prepare for the possibility and potential costs of needing long-term care as we age. It’s also a great time to look at our loved one(s)’ plans for long-term care and see where those plans could use some work. This is a subject that many of us overlook. That’s why a lot of adults remain completely unaware that most insurance plans exclude coverage for long-term, non-medical care and/or assistance in daily activities. So let’s talk about long-term care planning, why it’s important, and how to do it right.

What is Long-Term Care Planning?

Long-term care covers the non-medical aspects of personal care and services needed to maintain a good quality of life as we age. This includes things like:

  • Personal grooming
  • Dressing
  • Bathing
  • Eating
  • Running errands
  • Cleaning
  • And various routine activities. 

It also includes accommodations, which may or may not involve the help of skilled nurses (depending on your health at that time).

When should you start?

Unfortunately for most of us, relying solely on conventional income sources or insurance plans is no longer enough to secure a comfortable future. Previous generations leaned on retirement savings, pensions, social security, and other benefits to get by. Times have changed, and a significant portion of today’s adults, who may not yet be considered seniors, are living paycheck to paycheck. 

The sooner you start this process, however, the better off you’ll be when you eventually need it. But no matter your current age, it’s never too late to start. The best time to start was in your 30s or 40s. The second best time is right now.

How to Start Your Long-Term Care Planning Journey

Now that you understand what long-term care planning is and why it’s important to start as soon as possible, let’s dive into the best ways to do so.

Step 1: Gather your family

The first step is to gather your family together to talk about it. Have everyone prepare answers to questions like:

  • What do you each currently have in place? (401Ks, Roth IRAs, etc.)
  • What conditions run in the family, and how can you prepare for them now? 
  • Are there any expenses you can anticipate and calculate into your needs (mortgage, property taxes, etc.)
  • How much can you each put away to start contributing to these savings now?

Step 2: Review long-term care options

There are a lot of options out there for long-term care. Dive in with family, and when possible, seek advice from experts. This will help you find the plans that best suit your family’s needs. 

There are:

Step 3: Share Long-Term Care Planning month with a friend

Finally, it’s important that we raise awareness about the high likelihood of us needing long-term care, and the costs of it so each of us can retire comfortably and age with grace and dignity. Please share this article with a friend to help raise awareness of Long-Term Care Planning Month.

Closing Thoughts

If this topic interests you, we invite you to check out our library of free resources. We specialize in making resources known and available to California’s millions of family caregivers. Contact us at the California Caregiver Resource Center nearest to you or join CareNav for free today. 

Further Reading: How to Support Independent Living: Keeping Your Loved One Safe and in Their Home

As a family caregiver in California, you know that supporting your aging loved ones at home is a growing challenge. You are essential in helping them stay independent. In this guide to independent living, we’ll show you how to safely support your loved one(s) in their independent living goals. Click here to read all about it.

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