Long term care is an essential consideration for families in New York, especially as people are living longer and require assistance as they age. However, families often make mistakes when thinking about it that can lead to challenges down the road. Here are six common mistakes families make when thinking about long term care in New York.
1. Waiting until it’s too late to plan for long term care
Waiting until it’s too late to plan for long term care is another common mistake that families make. Many people avoid thinking about long term care because they don’t want to face the possibility that they or their loved ones may need it someday. However, waiting until a crisis occurs can limit options and increase costs.
The best time to plan for needing care for a prolonged period of time is before it’s needed. This allows families to explore their options, make informed decisions, and create a plan that meets their needs and budget. By planning ahead, families can also take advantage of strategies that can help them save money, such as purchasing long term care insurance or setting up a trust.
When families wait until it’s too late to plan for long term care, they may be forced to make decisions quickly and without all the information they need. This can lead to higher costs, limited care options, and added stress for everyone involved.
It’s important to have open and honest conversations with your loved ones about long term care and to start planning as early as possible. This includes discussing the potential costs, the types of care that may be needed, and who will be responsible for making decisions about care.
Working with an experienced elder law attorney and financial advisor can also be helpful in creating a comprehensive long term care plan. They can provide guidance on the various options available and help families make informed decisions about their care.
2. Assuming Medicare will cover all long term care needs and costs
One of the most common mistakes that families make when thinking about long term care is assuming that Medicare will cover all of their loved one’s needs and costs. However, this is not always the case.
Medicare does provide coverage for some long term care services, such as skilled nursing care. However, it does not cover all of the costs associated with long term care. For example, Medicare will only cover a limited number of days in a skilled nursing facility, and only if certain conditions are met.
Additionally, Medicare does not cover non-skilled care, such as assistance with daily activities like bathing and dressing. This type of care is often provided by family members or paid for out of pocket.
Families need to understand the limitations of Medicare coverage and plan accordingly. This may involve exploring other options, such as long term care insurance, Medicaid, or Veterans Benefits. It may also involve working with financial advisors to develop a comprehensive plan for paying for long term care.
By assuming that Medicare will cover all long term care needs and costs, families may be caught off guard and unprepared when the time comes. It’s important to do your research and understand what Medicare covers, and what other options are available, so that you can make informed decisions about long term care planning.
3. Not considering the full range of care options
Many families think only of nursing homes when considering long term care. However, there are many other options available, such as assisted living, in-home care, and adult day care. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, and families should consider all of them before making a decision.
For example, in-home care allows the person to remain in their home, which can be comforting and familiar. However, it may not be feasible if the person requires extensive medical care or has a home that is not conducive to caregiving. Assisted living facilities provide more support than in-home care, but can be costly.
Adult day care can be an excellent option for families who need some respite from caregiving or for people who need socialization and structured activities. Ultimately, families should consider all their options and choose the one that best meets their needs and budget.
4. Not involving the whole family in the planning process
One of the biggest mistakes that families make when it comes to long term care planning is not involving the whole family in the planning process. While it can be difficult to have these conversations, it’s important to include all family members who may be affected by the decisions that are made.
Failing to involve everyone in the planning process can lead to misunderstandings, disagreements, and even legal disputes down the road. For example, if one sibling is left out of the planning process and feels like their voice isn’t heard, they may contest the decisions that were made.
By involving the whole family in the planning process, families can ensure that everyone is on the same page and that everyone’s needs and concerns are taken into account. This can also help to prevent resentment and conflicts that can arise when some family members feel like they are excluded from the process.
It’s important to have open and honest conversations about long term care planning with your family. This includes discussing the costs of all options available, the types of care that may be needed, and who will be responsible for making decisions. By involving everyone in the planning process, families can work together to create a plan that is in everyone’s best interests. This can help to ensure that the individual who needs long term care receives the best possible care. It also keeps the family united and supportive throughout the process.
5. Failing to consider the financial impact of long term care
Long term care can be very expensive, and families need to consider how they will pay for it. Many families make the mistake of assuming that they will be able to cover the costs out of pocket, but this is often not realistic. For example, in 2023, the average cost of a nursing home in the Long Island region is approximately $14,136 a month or over $165,000 a year.
Families should consider purchasing long term care insurance or exploring other options, such as Medicaid or Veterans Benefits, to help cover the costs. Long term care insurance is designed to cover the cost of care services and support for people who need help with daily activities. The earlier a person buys a policy, the less expensive it is likely to be.
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that may cover care services for eligible individuals. With proper estate planning, even families who think they would be otherwise ineligible may be able to qualify for care. It is essential that families should consult with a Medicaid expert in their state to understand the options available to them.
Veterans Benefits may be available to veterans and their spouses to help cover the cost of long term care. These benefits are provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs and may include a range of services, such as home health care, respite care, and assisted living.
Families should also work with financial advisors to develop a comprehensive plan for paying for long term care. This may involve using retirement savings, selling assets, or exploring other options. Families that plan ahead and consider all financial options available are typically best prepared for the cost of long term care.
6. Not planning for the emotional impact of long term care
Families who are thinking about long term care typically overlook the emotional impact of the care. Long term care can be a significant source of stress and anxiety for both the person receiving care and their family members. Many people who require prolonged care are dealing with chronic illnesses, disabilities, or dementia, which can be challenging both physically and emotionally.
Families need to plan for the emotional impact of care. This includes how they will manage the stress and anxiety that can come with it. They should consider ways to provide emotional support to their loved ones. This can include scheduling regular visits, setting up phone calls, or hiring a caregiver who can provide emotional support.
Families should also consider how they will manage their own emotions and stress levels. Caring for a loved one can be physically and emotionally draining, and it is essential to have a support system in place. This may include seeking support from family members, friends, or a support group, or working with a therapist or counselor.
In addition, families should communicate openly and honestly with each other about their feelings and concerns. This can help prevent misunderstandings and conflicts and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Planning for the emotional impact of care may not be easy. However, it is an essential part of ensuring that the person receiving care and their family members can manage it. By taking a proactive approach to emotional support, families can help ensure that everyone involved feels supported, heard, and cared for.
Planning Early Prevents Problems
In conclusion, planning for long term care can be a difficult and emotional process for families. However, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that can have serious consequences down the road. By avoiding these mistakes and taking a proactive approach to long term care planning, families can ensure that their loved ones receive the best possible care and support.
Some of the most common mistakes families make when planning for long term care include failing to plan ahead, assuming that Medicare will cover all costs, not involving the whole family in the planning process, underestimating the emotional impact, failing to consider the financial impact of long term care, and not exploring all options for care.
To avoid these mistakes, families should start the planning process early and involve all family members in the decision-making process. They should also do their research and understand the potential costs and coverage options for long term care. Working with experienced professionals, such as elder law attorneys and financial advisors, can also be helpful in creating a comprehensive long term care plan.
Overall, by taking a proactive approach to long term care planning and avoiding common mistakes, families can ensure that their loved ones receive the care and support they need, while also minimizing stress and financial burden for everyone involved.
This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal, or investment advice. If you are seeking legal advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.