Don’t Be Surprised By “Unexpected” Long Term Care Expenses.
By Rick Law. Senior Estate Planner in Chicago, IL As much as we all hate to admit it, there will come a time when it is likely that we will need assistance in doing even some of the most basic daily living activities. In fact, in many cases, clients can more easily come to grips with concept of mortality or death than they can about their own need for care – especially if that care involves long-term care or nursing home aspects. It is at this stage that a picture must be painted in the client’s mind as to what could happen- not just physically, but financially – if a need for care should arise. And the odds are very much in everyone’s favor that at some point in the future, that need will arise. The phrase “long-term care” can mean many things, but the term can generally be defined as “the variety of services necessary for someone who requires some form of daily, ongoing assistance.” The needs of an individual can range from needing around-the-clock care to someone who simply needs help performing the basic daily living activities such as getting dressed or bathing. Long-term care can be divided into various levels. These include:
- Skilled care – This type of care is considered to be medically necessary due to a physical or mental impairment. -or-
- Custodial care – Custodial care is defined as receiving assistance with meeting daily living requirements.
- Acute impairments – An acute impairment is a medical condition such as an accident-related injury, pneumonia or a heart attack that strikes suddenly, but from which the individual may fully recover with the proper medical attention.
- Physical Impairment – A physical impairment is a treatable, but not typically curable, chronic condition. Common examples include emphysema, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.
- Cognitive Impairment – Cognitive impairments are generally defined as a deterioration or loss of intellectual capacity as certified by a licensed healthcare practitioner, measured by clinical evidence and standardized tests.