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How to Start Long-term Care Planning for Seniors


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Senior man and young man reviewing a document together​As we age, few things are as important as creating a thoughtful plan for future care, yet research shows that most people are underprepared in this area. While many older adults know they should plan for retirement and beyond, starting is often the hardest part and many tend to overlook long-term care preparations. There are 5 common misconceptions about end-of-life planning.

Although 73% of seniors have a written will, only 13% have made plans for long-term care, according to a 2018 study by Home Instead Senior Care. The study also revealed that most family caregivers wished their aging loved ones had begun the planning process earlier and considered all options, such as home care.

Making long-term care plans and decisions ahead of time can ensure seniors have a say in how they live out their later years. Whether it is living in their own home as they age or in a facility, older adults put themselves at risk of their wishes not being met when they don’t put a plan in place.

By starting a conversation early, both families and their loved ones can feel more at peace and better prepared for the future.

Resources to help seniors and adult children start long-term care plans

Considerations when navigating the path to long term care plans

  • Start the conversation. Candid discussions are the first step in determining the right level of care. While it may feel counterintuitive, starting a dialogue far in advance is key – even before there are signs of slowing down. If you’re unsure of how to begin, consider sharing the story of a friend or family member who benefited from creating a plan.
  • Research care options. Whether you prefer aging in place, assisted living or another alternative, there are options for professional care. However, it’s important to discuss the benefits of every option before deciding what is right for you. For example, many who desire to age at home, aren’t aware of how to make it possible.
  • Assess financials. Contemplating the cost of professional care can be intimidating. Until you explore your options, you’ll never know what is possible. It’s important to remember that millions of seniors receive excellent care, despite financial challenges. Insurance agents and financial planners can help determine the best options to provide the care you may need, wherever you need it.
  • Meet with care providers. Once you’ve selected the best care option for your situation, schedule time to meet with the providers one-on-one to ask questions and discuss a roadmap for future assistance. Many care agencies offer free, no-obligation consultations to help you determine what offerings are right for you.
  • Finalize care. After a plan is agreed upon, schedule a regular meeting to check-in with loved ones and assess how things are going. Be prepared to adjust care as priorities shift.

While many people find it difficult to discuss sensitive life topics, this process can help families and their loved ones feel more at ease by establishing a plan to transition into the later years of life. To learn more about available long-term care options, visit https://www.caregiverstress.com/home-care/.

Author: Lakelyn Hogan

Lakelyn Hogan is Gerontologist and Caregiver Advocate for Home Instead Senior Care. Lakelyn has been with Home Instead for five years, starting in the local franchise working one-on-one with seniors and caregivers. Now, her role at the Global Headquarters is to educate professionals, families and communities on Home Instead’s services and the issues older adults face. In partnership with the American Society on Aging, Lakelyn facilitates a monthly webinar series for professionals in the aging field. She also hosts monthly family caregiver live chats with Alzheimer’s and dementia experts from across the country.

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