As people age they often require increased assistance in everyday activities. Decisions on what is the best type of care for a senior can be difficult and often complicated. Here is help on how to decide between assisted living or senior care in their home.
The choices between assisted living professionally at a nursing home or relying on care in the home can be an agonizing choice for the family of a senior. There are pros and cons to both options and they should be carefully considered before an arrangement is in place.
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Senior Care - Choosing a Facility
Many of us will gladly take Mom to her doctor's appointments, administer medications, and check in if the need arises without a second thought. But with millions of loyal children caring for aging parents out of their own pockets, a little financial relief is welcome. Few family caregivers are aware that you can get paid - however small the amount may be - to care for Mom and provide homecare services. Due to the long working hours, however, some adult children caregivers have been forced to leave their full-time jobs or even scale back their hours spent on the clock, leading to a significantly reduced cash flow. Fortunately, if being a caregiver is causing a noticeable financial strain, there are homecare reimbursement programs that can help alleviate some of the burden. Keep in mind, however, that you must practice patience when applying for these programs - make sure that your application is up-to-date and all the necessary attachments are included before you send it so that delays aren't any longer than necessary.
Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI)
Long-term care insurance, which functions as an indemnity program, only pays the insured the amount that was contracted at the outset, and regardless of homecare services that are received, will only pay that specified amount.
Making the Arrangement with Mom Official
Since money is involved, it's recommended that family caregivers draw up some sort of short, typewritten contract that outlines the terms of the caregiving situation in depth, including the pay rate and frequency, job description and homecare services that will be provided, and how various expenses will be reimbursed (if applicable). Hiring an attorney or other legal professional will help all family caregivers involved create a legal document that prevents sticky situations from arising.
It's also important to remember that this payment is viewed as income by the government, so all family caregivers must report their earnings each year as taxable income. Though the money received for providing homecare services is negligible, it will help to offset many of the costs associated with providing Mom (or Dad) with a loving, stable, and comfortable home.
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The Costs of Senior Care Options
When planning for our retirement, most of us allocate money into a 401K or another savings program to take advantage of tax write-offs and to make sure we will be able to enjoy a nice lifestyle when we are no longer working from 9 to 5. We imagine using the money to supplement our monthly social security checks to enjoy vacations and other leisure activities while taking advantage of all those senior discounts.
The financial company advertisements assist us with the visions of enjoying gardening, sailing and relaxing during our retirement years. They don't show the other side of the reality which includes health problems which accompany aging. Along with a longer life comes an increased chance for developing an age-related disease, such as Alzheimer's Disease or Parkinson's Disease. Alzheimer's Disease is now the sixth leading cause of death, according to the Alzheimer's Association. As we all witnessed from watching former President Ronald Reagan battle the disease, a senior with Alzheimer's Disease can live for many years, while requiring a caregiver to assist with their daily living. As Medicare does not pay for long-term senior care (only stays of 100 days or less in a nursing home for rehabilitation after a hospital stay, with doctor pre-approval, with only the first 20 days paid at 100% by Medicare), the costs can quickly add-up.
Remember, Medicare does not pay for long-term care, which means to effectively plan for your senior care needs, you must plan for where you want to receive the care and save to pay for the care services either in a nursing home or in your home. While less than 7% of Americans over the age of 70 currently have long-term care insurance, it is predicted that more than 50% of Americans will have long-term care insurance in twenty years, as people witness their parents burn through their life savings to pay for their senior care needs. Research the options and manage your investments to allow you to choose your preferred senior care and look for unbiased, third-party information as a credible senior care resource