Don’t Be Surprised By “Unexpected” Long Term Care Expenses.
March 15, 2013
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.
- Custodial care – Custodial care is defined as receiving assistance with meeting daily living requirements.
Impairments that require the need for long-term care can be broken down into three types. These are:
- 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.
Often, when a medical professional is qualifying an individual for a long-term care need, they will make a determination based on the person’s ability – or inability – to perform various “activities of daily living,” or ADLs.
The list of ADLs includes dressing, bathing, toileting, continence, transferring (from bed to chair) and eating (the ability to feed oneself).
Although many people think only of skilled care when they hear the phrase “long-term care,” it is important to remember that in reality, long-term care encompasses a wide array of medical, social, personal, supportive and specialized housing services that
are needed by individuals who have lost some capacity for self-care due to a chronic illness or a disabling condition.
It is also important to note that the goal of long-term care is not to cure an illness or condition, but rather to allow an individual the ability to attain and to maintain an optimal level of day-to-day functioning.
If you’re ready to start getting your estate in order and secure your assets for the “worst-case” scenario, please give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free. We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family. Call now.
Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.
Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future. Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care. Appointments available in Chicago, Aurora, Oak Brook, Schaumburg, and Joliet. Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!