When we hear of “long-term care,” we often think of an insurance policy or care in a skilled nursing facility, but long-term care encompasses much more. It does include insurance and long-term services, but it also includes your finances, where you will live and how to manage any legal, family and social issues that come along with the aging journey.
In 2015, more than 8 million people required some form of long-term support services, such as home health agencies, hospice, adult day centers, skilled nursing centers or residential living, and these services can be costly.
By planning in advance, you maintain control over decisions that will impact your life, and you give a gift to your family and friends. They won’t need to make decisions about your care.
There are four major areas for making decisions when it comes to your long-term care planning: legal, home, health and financial.
Estate planning will guide your legal wishes as you age.
Prepare advance medical directives that outline the treatments you wish to receive.
Prepare documents for the power of attorney. This appoints someone to act on your behalf.
Prepare your last will and testament.
As you age, you need to think about where you will reside.
Can your current home accommodate walkers, wheelchairs or other healthcare equipment you might need?
Can your home be modified if necessary?
Are homecare services available in your area?
Is there transportation for aging adults in your area?
Are Meals on Wheels, adult day centers or senior centers available near you? These programs can offer nutritious meals, socialization and access to certain services.
Who will coordinate care services for you if you stay at home?
If you do not reside at home, research other residential options. Other options can include assisted living or retirement communities or a skilled nursing facility. Know the types of care and the associated costs.
As you age, you will need to make decisions about your health care.
What treatments will you want if you become ill? Think about life-sustaining treatments, and share your thoughts and feelings with others.
Who will make your health care decisions if you are unable to do so? Choose someone who will act in your best interest.
There are many financial decisions to make as you age.
Are you able to pay for in-home care or assisted living or skilled nursing services?
Are you able to make home modifications if you need to be cared for at home?
Discuss how you will protect your assets and pay for future care, such as through a living trust.
About One MacDonough Place
One MacDonough Place is an assisted living community owned by Middlesex Health. It is located in Middletown and offers the benefits of independent living along with a wide range of supportive services and a vibrant social atmosphere. For more information about One MacDonough Place, visit onemacdonoughplace.org or call 860-358-5802.
If you are worried about COVID-19 and its impact on your life, you are not alone. Dr. Patrice Holmes, a Middlesex Health psychiatrist, discusses signs of anxiety, some ways to curb anxiety and when it might be time to seek help.