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.
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 statistics for Texas and the rest of the country say that seven out of 10 people over age 65 will need some level of nursing home care at some point. It is an unfriendly topic, one that most would prefer to file away in that special drawer called "procrastination," but the economic figures are so foreboding that it is a topic that needs to be discussed. The fact is that paying for long-term care is such an expensive proposition that many people may be well-advised to consider long-term care insurance.
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.
One key to effectively planning for long-term care is to coordinate the available benefits from government programs with other estate planning tools. Unfortunately, though, coordinating in this way can be complicated, and many people wait too late to begin planning for their long-term care.
Here's a big number to consider: $84,000. That was the annual median cost of having a room in a private nursing home in 2012. The figure represents an 8-percent increase in five years. It also means that planning for long-term care should start now and not later. The cost of care is steadily rising.