Long Term Care Options

Long Term Care Option

By Mark T. Coulter, Esquire
Estate Planning Attorney

Many people talk about their concerns over the need for ‘nursing home’ care or Long Term Care in the future, with great fear of the shadowy doom of its incredible expense. Certainly many a family has been overwhelmed by long term care costs, but the first step to confronting the beast is to understand what it is. This article briefly discusses the types of care situations which are often lumped together under the heading of Long Term Care.

Nursing Home Care: Nursing homes are available in most communities, and provide care for people who are unable to care for themselves and have needs which for whatever reason cannot be met at home or in a less restrictive environment. Such facilities will typically have a professional staff on hand to provide skilled nursing care, various rehabilitation services, and constant supervision. Staff is on hand to assist at whatever level is required for the activities of daily living including eating, bathing, dressing and just getting out of bed and moving around. A stay at a nursing home may be brief during a recovery from a hospital admission, intermediate in duration such as to permit rehabilitation and recovery following a disabling injury or surgery, or extended when the resident’s condition is such that return to the home environment is simply never likely to be accomplished.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities: Created to respond to the aging demographics in our nation, CCRC’s permit residents to move through a variety of accommodations and services, based upon the level of care and supervision which they require at any point in time. When a person is self sufficient, then independent living homes or apartments may be available, but as medical, rehabilitative or supervisory needs increase, the person can be shifted to a location where such services are available while still continuing to live in the same social community Typical structures provide services for independent living, assisted living, and traditional nursing home care.

Assisted Living: Assisted living facilities provide a location for people who need help with important aspects of their daily life, but not skilled nursing or medical care on a routine basis. Activities such as eating, personal cleanliness, laundry, transportation, dispensing medication and others are supported by the staff at such facilities,, much the way a person’s spouse might if they were available and able to do so. Interaction among the residents is highly encouraged to maintain or improve daily functioning and prevent deterioration to a need for skilled nursing care.

Home Care: Many people with serious conditions are still able to stay in their home, provided that necessary support is available from family, friends, the community or hired assistants. Simple tasks to delegate to someone more able bodied include shopping, housecleaning, laundry and meal preparations. Nursing care may be available from a visiting nurse organization, and Medicare can provide Home Health Care benefits under certain situations.

Hospice Care: Hospice care is provided for those people suffering terminal illnesses who nevertheless are able and desirous of spending their remaining time in the comfort of their own home. Hospice care provides for regular visitation by a nurse trained in hospice care that can assist with medication supervision, monitoring of the patient’s condition, communication with the physicians involved, and emotional support for the family. Services may be further available for the family to provide periods of time when family members can get time away from the home to attend to their own personal needs, or just get some space and perspective.

Community Services: Many communities have a variety of support services available to those with physical and/or fiscal needs. Examples include Meals on Wheels, adult day care programs, Access transportation services and others. Your local Agency on Aging can provide more information about the services available in your community.

An excellent starting point for more information on the care services available in your area is the federal Eldercare website, at www.eldercare.gov. Please feel free to contact us for a consultation to discuss how long term care needs may fit into your estate planning requirements.

About Our Law Office

At the Estate Planning Centers at Coulter & May, P.C., we devote our practice to estate planning and assisting families through such transition times with estate and trust administration counseling. We offer guidance and advice to our clients in every area of estate planning, and offer comprehensive and personalized estate planning consultations. For more information or to attend an upcoming seminar or to book a consultation directly, please contact us at (412) 253-7526 or visit us online at www.estateplanningcenters.com.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is a conversational summary of a complex area of law and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. No person should rely upon the content of this article for making any decisions, and should instead consult with appropriate legal and tax professionals.