None of us really like to think about getting old. Oh, sure, we may enjoy dreaming about the things we will do in our retirement or when we have more spare time in our golden years. But planning for the business of getting old, particularly when it comes to long-term care, is something that can seem scary or downright depressing.
“Planning for long-term care is a lot like making a will, or putting together documents for your estate or even signing a DNR,” says Vanessa DiPaolo, Director of Sales at The Terraces at Bonita Springs, the only Life Plan Community for senior living in the Bonita Springs area. “We may not necessarily like to think about these things, but putting plans like these in place provide peace of mind for you and your heirs down the road.”
It’s a lot easier, Vanessa says, to create a long-term care plan well before you need to use it. “By making decisions about what type of care you might need, how you’ll pay for it and coming up with contingencies if and when issues occur, you’ll be better equipped to handle change if it arrives,” she says.
More than 70 percent of seniors will require some form of long-term care eventually, but very few of those individuals have a plan in place. This can cause headaches, heartache and financial strain not just to the senior, but to their family as well. “Unless proper planning is put into place, many long-term care decisions can end up being done informally by family caregivers, which can cause things to fall through the cracks through no fault of their own,” Vanessa says. “Planning ahead can help you think through your options and determine exactly how, where and when you’d like long-term care to benefit you.”
Which, she says, ultimately benefits your entire family and all your loved ones as well.
The Benefits of Long-Term Care Planning
Many people assume that long-term care planning means buying long-term care insurance, and that’s that. Although long-term care insurance can be part of a comprehensive care plan, it’s just one piece of the total puzzle. Long-term care planning has many moving parts, which is why planning ahead provides benefits such as:
Giving you more choices.
Planning ahead with anything gives you more choice, period. When you don’t have to make rush decisions, or have a specific deadline, you’re better able to research your options and thoughtfully compare what will work best for you. When you’re planning for long-term care, you’ll be making decisions such as:
- Determining where to live in the future, whether in your current home or moving to a place that’s more suitable for your changing needs
- Making medical decisions and caring for yourself now in order to improve your chances for an active, healthy future
- Understanding long-term care costs, such as assisted living services, transportation options and more, and researching ways to pay for them
- Putting legal documents together that will help ensure your decisions about your care and finances are followed
All of these items require a lot of thought on your part – and that’s not something you necessarily want to be doing quickly. Give yourself plenty of time and you’ll find you reap the benefits.
Lessening the burden on family members.
According to a consumer study, 84 percent of caregivers – many of whom are unpaid family members – cited the emotional burden as the most difficult aspect of providing long-term care. But the financial aspect shouldn’t be neglected, either. A lack of planning can wreak havoc on a family’s finances and time because unless plans are made, family members are often thrust into the role of caregiver. By planning ahead, you can discuss your options with family members, so they’ll be prepared if and when your plans need to get put into play.
Long-term care costs a pretty penny – there’s no way around that. However, there are ways to lessen the financial burden, and planning ahead for how to pay for care will be your biggest line of defense in making sure you’re not overpaying or missing out on benefits that you deserve. Having time to plan means you can use your savings and investments in the most cost-efficient manner, as well as look for community organizations or government programs that are available to your or a loved one.
Giving you peace of mind.
The biggest benefit of planning ahead for long-term care – by far – is the peace of mind it brings to you and your family members. Having all your options laid out and your wishes understood means that there will be very few questions if and when the time comes for your plan to be put into place. Your family won’t have to make decisions on your behalf. Instead, they can relax, knowing that you will be taken care of. And you can relax, knowing that your wishes will be followed – and feeling confident that you’ve made the best decision for you and your loved ones.
About The Terraces at Bonita Springs
Recreation, special events, holiday celebrations, educational programs, guest speakers, and a variety of inspiring activities take place throughout the year at The Terraces at Bonita Springs (TheTerracesatBonitaSprings.com) as part of the community’s active lifestyle programs. The Terraces is the only Life Plan Community for senior living in the Bonita Springs area. Living choices include independent living, assisted living, memory support, skilled nursing and rehabilitation. All levels of care, including assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory support are open for direct admittance, with no entrance fee.
For more information, visit TheTerracesatBonitaSprings.com or call 239-221-8907.