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 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.
Long-term care insurance may be more of a necessity than some people think. The statistics say that almost 75 percent of senior citizens in this country, including in Texas, will need some form of long-term care prior to death. The cost of the insurance and the care itself are continuing upwards. However, there are a variety of products on the market that may make the choices easier for those wanting to devise a long-term care plan via partial or complete insurance funding.
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.
When a loved one is struck with the unthinkable, such as a diagnosis of impending Alzheimer's disease or another type of dementia, planning should start immediately if it's not already in place. Unfortunately, both in Texas and throughout the country, the stress and shock of coping with such an overpowering disease is combined with extraordinary medical expenses that few can afford. Therefore, long-term care planning for dementia can bring about substantial benefits, both economically and emotionally.
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.
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.