The Elder Care Journeyn Part 1: Early Years Of Retirement
By Rick Law, Senior Estate Planner and Elder Law Attorney in West Suburban Chicagoland The “Elder Care Journey” is a continuum of possible care needs that get more intense as the journey progresses. Typically, the journey progresses as follows: • Healthy, vigorous senior – Most of today’s seniors are active, much more so than in years gone by. Several decades ago, you were not apt to see seniors playing tennis, running in races or skydiving! But with today’s medical technology and resources for exercise for health-conscious seniors, more people in their sixties, seventies and even eighties are living full and active lifestyles…at least for a while. • Medications and acute health problems – At some point, it is likely that even a healthy and vigorous senior will begin to experience some type of health issues.These issues may start small, with arthritis or high blood pressure. But over time, most seniors will begin to exhibit more signs of physical aging and the onset of more serious issues, possibly resulting in hospitalization to recover from injuries or for various surgeries. It is at this stage in the journey that these issues – and the corresponding medications that are prescribed – will most likely be covered from a cost standpoint either by Medicare (which covers acute care) or private insurance. Although the senior may be responsible for paying an insurance deductible, these costs are often capped at an annual rate, so the senior can plan and anticipate their healthcare financial responsibilities. In addition, those who are covered by Medicare may also have a Medicare supplemental insurance policy that covers many of the copayments and deductibles that Medicare does not cover. • Declining senior with memory or mobility issues – As the senior progresses on the journey, memory and/or mobility will begin to decline. Regardless of how active or healthy one was in the past, at some point the body and the mind will begin to slow down. These issues may start small, such as frequent forgetfulness or walking at a slower pace, until eventually the senior may need some type of in-home assistance to help with basic daily needs. • In-home assistance – When a senior is unable to perform basic daily living activities, either physically or because they cognitively are unable to remember to do so, then some form of in-home care is needed. This could be hiring an aide to help with household chores or bill paying, or could mean that more extensive assistance might be needed on a more regular basis. Regardless of the need, at an average cost of $17 to $22 per hour (eight hours per day x 365 days per year =$49,000 to $64,000 per year), the expenses can begin to add up. It is now that the senior and their family may begin to realize that regular health insurance, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, are not constructed to pay for these types of care costs. In fact, it is typical that only long-term care insurance will cover these types of expenses, which means many people are forced to use their personal assets to pay. And unless the senior is suffering from a very serious condition, the situation could go on for years. 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. Sincerely, 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. Conveniently located off I-88 across from the Chicago Premium Outlet Mall. Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!