How to Plan Ahead for Long-Term Care

Long Term Care Planning Month Graphic 2020

In today’s world, planning ahead can seem like an overwhelming task. With so many changes in our daily lives, the thought of what type of long-term care  we might need later in life probably doesn’t even cross our minds – let alone make it to the top of our priority list. However, as we age, the possibility of needing long-term care increases dramatically. According to the National Institute on Aging, more than two-thirds of people over 65 will require some type of long-term care during their lifetime.

With the likelihood of needing long-term healthcare services so high, it’s important to make preparations for your potential long-term care needs well in advance. Since October is long-term care planning month, and we’ve been helping seniors and their loved ones navigate the senior care landscape for nearly 140 years, we’ve compiled some information to help you better understand how to plan ahead for long-term care.

If you or a senior loved one are considering senior living or healthcare services – whether that’s assisted living, personal care, retirement living or home care – below is information to help you plan ahead and learn more about what long-term care services are available to meet your needs.

How should I start planning for long-term care?
Planning for long-term care doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. In fact, having a long-term care plan in place can help alleviate the stress that accompanies making last-minute decisions about you or your loved one’s health.

The first step in the planning process is assessing what type of senior living or healthcare services you or your loved one may need and what care options are available. Often, many individuals will base their long-term care needs on a variety of factors including health history, family caregiving options and finances. Having a conversation about your potential long-term care needs that considers these factors is a great place to start.

What are my long-term care options?
There are many different types of senior and healthcare services to meet an individual’s long-term care needs. Concordia specifically offers several forms of senior living and healthcare services including:

Retirement Communities – retirement communities like Concordia of the South Hills in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Concordia at Sumner in Copley, Ohio (to name a few Concordia retirement living locations) provide residents with a worry-free, independent lifestyle that includes opportunities for socialization, activities and wellness.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities – continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) are facilities/campuses that offer at minimum, three levels of care: independent living, personal care/assisted living and skilled nursing care. A CCRC allows seniors to “age in place” by offering multiple levels of care and services on one campus. Concordia specifically has several locations that offer a full continuum of care and are CARF-CCAC accredited (an international, independent, non-profit accreditor of health and human services).

Home Care or Home Healthcare Services – in-home services provide non-medical assistance with activities of daily living (home care) or professional skilled medical care (home healthcare). Concordia Private Care  provides home care services to anyone who doesn’t have the time, opportunity or energy to handle everyday tasks and to individuals who have a compromised health condition and would benefit from receiving non-medical services. Services range from assistance with normal day-to-day tasks, including light housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, grooming and personal care, to assistance with errands, grocery shopping and transportation to doctor appointments. Concordia Visiting Nurses provides quality skilled nursing care and a variety of therapy, disease management and specialty services to meet every individual’s healthcare needs. To receive home healthcare services, an individual’s physician must determine the need for ongoing professional home healthcare for a period of time and provide an order for this care. Most individuals, if they are recovering from an injury or major surgery, have a change in medical condition and/or are unable to leave home without a considerable amount of effort, are eligible for home healthcare.

Personal Care Communities and Assisted Living Facilities – personal care communities and assisted living facilities offer support to residents who need assistance with activities of daily living (ADL), like mobility, bathing, dressing, eating, personal hygiene, etc. and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), which include activities that require more complex cognitive and motor skills.

Related: 4 Ways Personal Care Services Can Help Improve Your Quality of Life

Do I have a plan to pay for long-term care?
There are different options when it comes to paying for long-term care costs depending upon the type of long-term care or healthcare services you or your loved one may need. It’s important to note that Medicare only pays for long-term skilled nursing care services and rehabilitative care, and does not pay for non-skilled assistance. Additionally, Medicaid benefits depend on the state in which the beneficiary lives, the type of Medicaid coverage they are receiving and if the agency providing services is Medicaid-certified. The admitting agency will inform you or your loved one of all accepted insurances, including Medicare and Medicaid, prior to admission.

There are several options to cover long-term care services at home or at a senior living community aside from Medicare or Medicaid that include:

  • Long-term Care Insurance
  • Local Area Agency on Aging (AAA)
  • Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA) Waiver Program (Pennsylvania residents only)
  • Private Insurance
  • Private Pay
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (if you or a loved one has veteran status)

It’s important to have a conversation early about the potential cost of long-term care and consider meeting with a health insurance expert to learn how to best prepare your finances for senior living.

For any questions you or your senior loved one may have about long-term care planning or any of Concordia’s senior and healthcare services, you can call a member of our team at 724-352-1571 or message us 24/7 through the contact form  on our website. For more information about our senior care locations in Western PA, Eastern OH, or Tampa, FL visit the locations page of our website.

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