Experts in elder care planning in Texas and elsewhere recommend strongly that families have a conversation with an elderly parent about his or her preferences and desires for long-term care. The talk must take place when the individual has control of his or her faculties and can contribute to the conversation. Early planning for long-term care can ultimately assure financial and emotional stability for all of the concerned family members.
It is difficult to engage people in a discussion of long-term care needs when they are busy making sure that their expenses today and tomorrow do not exceed their budgetary constraints. People in Texas and elsewhere are reluctant to talk about long-term care when those needs seem so far away and possibly unnecessary. However, ignoring long-term care planning can be a devastating mistake under most life outcomes.
One of the biggest challenges a person can face is preparing for the day when one may no longer be independent and self-sufficient. Due to a decline in physical or mental health, or both, the day may come when a person has to rely on others to make decisions about his or her long-term care. Lest one views the subject as too gloomy to worry about, it should be remembered that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that 70 percent of those 65 and older, including residents of Texas, will need some form of long-term care.
The key problem that arises with respect to elderly planning is the high cost of extended care facilities during one's later years. Many people do not begin to even thing about long-term care until they hit their eighties, but due to the five-year look back period it would be far better to take this up in one's early to mid-sixties. There are numerous rules in Texas that provide the qualifications for one to be able to get Medicaid services, and an early consultation with an elder law attorney would be a good way to becoming well informed and prepared.
Elder law planning in Texas is a critically important process that goes hand-in-hand with estate planning. In elder law planning, the concern is more focused on the care of the elderly loved one during those late years when incapacitation may become an issue. The majority of persons will unfortunately face the fact that they will need either institutionalized care or that they will need to pay for in-home care.
According to one specialist on the subject, long-term care in this country has become convoluted and in need of a legal overhaul. Because of the levels of uncertainty built into the system, elder law planning in Texas and elsewhere must take place as early as possible. As previously mentioned, it can be decisively important to have discussions and family meetings with the elderly loved one regarding desirable options.
There appears to be a competition between retirement planning and the need for long-term care funding. Add to that, the view shared by many observers in Texas and nationwide that Americans are in denial about the prospective need for long-term care, and a real problem seems to be emerging. The picture is not made brighter by the projected inability of Medicare and other government sources to fund the costs of long-term care into the future.
If you're one of the millions of baby boomers hitting retirement age, it is an ideal time to set up an elder law plan under Texas law. It will provide for long-term care if it becomes necessary. The fact is that becoming immobile and/or infirm in old age does not have to be the end of a useful and enjoyable life. However, the ability to function may be exacerbated by pressing financial and family strife caused by a lack of elder law planning for such a time.
Many persons who must enter a nursing home or long-term care facility in their later years will come to rely on Medicaid for payment of the great bulk of the expenses. However, the rules for qualifying benefits in Texas and elsewhere require that a person have limited assets that are specified. That fact has resulted in the growth of Medicaid planning, which re-structures the assets so that when the time comes to request benefits, the applicant will be qualified.
Long-term care insurance (LTCI) is usually a good idea for someone 55 to 70 who wants to avoid the potential financial hardship that can occur if a nursing home or home-care becomes necessary. The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services estimates nearly 70 percent of people who reach age 65 will need long-term care at some point. That statistic of course applies across the board, including in Texas. Unfortunately, less than one-third of people over age 50 have begun to plan for their potential long-term care needs.