Why You Should Learn About Care Planning

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, at least 70% of people over the age of 65 will require some long term care services at some point in their lives. , Adult Day Care, Assisted Living Care, or Nursing Home Care.

You are at risk of losing your life savings if you do not properly prepare your estate before you or a loved one falls ill. The average annual nursing home cost in the US is $ 77,745 per person per year, and the average nursing home stay in the US is 30 months. ** Do the math, and the cost per person over that time period would average $ 194,363!

I can not afford that. And, if you are like me, you probably do not want to be a financial burden on your family as you age. In fact, you may be more worried about being a financial burden than dying.

The 2012 survey conducted by Genworth Financial showed that death was of least concern (10%). More worrisome were fears of living in a nursing home (25%), and depleting life savings (12%). The same survey also showed that nearly 90% of retirees have not discussed their long term care issues with their spouse or children.

Remember, you only have three care planning options should you find yourself in a situation where you can not physically or mentally take care of yourself.

One is Home Healthcare , where a companion will prepare and serve meals, shop for the food, do the housekeeping that will be necessary, handle all the business affairs, pay the bills, and provide entertainment for you. He or she can hire a home health care agency to help with most of these chores. This agency will also administer injections or therapy, change dressings, and monitor your vital signs, as needed.

Care Planning Option number 2 is moving into an Assisted Living Community. Assisted living is often viewed as a bridge between homebound care and skilled nursing care.

Residents live independently, but have access to service professionals on an as-needed basis. These communities are designed to provide residents with assistance with basic needs, such as bathing, grooming, and dressing, and administering medicines.

A primary advantage of living in an assisted living community is the social environment and interaction with other residents and with the staff.

The third Option , of course, is moving into a nursing home. This would be for patients who require care at a much higher level, and if needed, care around the clock. Staff would include skilled nurses 24 hours per day, as well as diagnostic services like lab tests, xrays, and EKG readings.

Some nursing homes will also provide special wings for memory care patients who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer's. Mental capacity provides unique challenges beyond just physical disease and whenever possible it is best for the patient to be grouped with other patients who may have similar conditions.

Facing the realities of long term care is often hard to do, but “Care Planning”, as I call it, is extremely important and relevant to our lives. We all need to learn more about it!

* US Dept. of Health and Human Services (September 25, 2009)

** Genworth Cost of Care Survey, 2012