What’s Your New Year’s Resolution? Prepare for Long Term Care

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by Loretta Hartzell

As another year draws to a close, we may find ourselves looking back on all that has happened and how our lives have changed. We may have a new child or grandchild, a different job, or a first home. On the other hand, we may have lost loved ones, been laid off from a job, or been diagnosed with a chronic illness.

With a New Year approaching, we may also find ourselves thinking about how we could improve our lives and the lives of our loved ones, and what we could learn from our past mistakes. We may set goals in an effort to improve our health and well-being. This can be the year that we abandon habits that are no longer useful to us. This can be the year that we get organized and develop a plan for the future.

During this time of contemplation and new beginnings, why not talk with your spouse and other loved ones about future long term care needs? While it may not be an easy conversation, it is a necessary one. Indeed, it’s difficult to contemplate the possibility of our own failing health or that of a loved one. Consequently, we may avoid thinking about it and simply hope for the best. But, this isn’t much of a plan, is it?

Long term care (LTC) refers to a wide range of medical, non-medical (custodial), social, and personal care services that help a person cope with a reduced level of functioning due to aging, illness, or injury. Depending on individual needs, LTC services may be provided by a nurse, a home health aide, an occupational or physical therapist, a speech language pathologist, a social worker, or even a registered dietitian. LTC insurance (LTCi) can help cover expenses for LTC services. Policies vary, but in general they provide a set amount of coverage that can be used to pay the costs of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or home health care.

While we don’t know what the New Year holds, proper planning may help preserve assets, enhance options for care, and perhaps most importantly, bring us, as well as our loved ones, a happier New Year.

Now, that’s a new beginning!!

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