In our practice we hear frequent objection to long-term care planning from people who think medicare or the veterans administration will take care of them. These people simply don’t understand the limitations of medicare or the veterans administration systems.
The National Aging Network, a Government-sponsored program, is in the best position to help people receive long-term care in their homes. But unfortunately, for every dollar that supports a person through the aging network the government spends about $270 supporting a person in a nursing home. The priorities are all mixed up, but sometimes that is the only way because it has inadequate funding, the aging network must confine its valuable services to people who have little income or for social reasons are disadvantaged. Moderate and middle income Americans can receive some services from the network but are mostly excluded or must pay their fair share of the cost.
We believe the lack of knowledge with government’s long-term care program is an impediment to proper long-term care planning. When people understand the limitations of relying on government programs they are most likely to be more motivated to plan for the future by making provisions in advance and providing advance funding to pay for care. Prior planning allows people to have a choice in their care setting and in the type of services they receive.
4. Knowing Who to Contact for Help: Out of the 11 areas of advice or services below, we believe the average American is probably not conversant in any of them. These are the specialists, advisers or services that can make the difference in allowing someone needing care for his or her family to have a choice in care options. Without help, family may not always choose the best option. Much of this advice and many of these services will also help improve the condition or the environment of someone needing long-term care. We believe strongly that families that are prepared for care in advance are going to be significantly more successful than families that use a last-minute ‘do-it-yourself’ approach. We can assure you that using a professional will save considerably more money than the actual cost of the service. The eleven areas of services to contact for help include the following:
(a) Personal care manager services.
(b) Professional home care services.
(c) Medical care services for the aged:
(i) The American perspective on aging and health.
(ii) Treating medical problems.
(iii) Medications of the elderly.
(iv) Geriatric physicians or specialists in aging medicine.
(v) Home visiting doctors.
(vi) Health insurance advocates.
(d) Legal Services:
(i) The need for legal services for the aged.
(ii) Finding legal help.
(iii) Elder law or estate planning attorney.
(e) Financial services:
(i) Reverse mortgage specialist.
(ii) Long-term care insurance specialist.
(iii) Elder financial advisor.
(f) End-of-life services:
(i) Understanding how end-of-life unfolds for the aged.
(ii) Advance directives.
(iii) Palliative care.
(iv) Choosing where to die.
(v) Assisted suicide.
(vi) When death occurs.
(vii) Coping with the loss of a loved one.
(viii) Final arrangements.
(ix) Pre-need funeral plans.
(g) Dial 211.
(h) Elder mediation services.
(i) Health services.
(1) Assistive technology and monitoring and prevention services.
(k) Government and community aging services.