Many times, an elderly person ends up in a long-term care facility because of an illness, fall or rapid decline in health. The sad fact is that family members must often make hasty decisions at that time, and those decisions may not be the ones the ailing person would have made. Difficult as it may be to discuss such matters, it is wise to plan well in advance for the possibility that you will need long-term care.

Since there is no way to accurately predict when and what kind of care you might need in the future, it may benefit you to learn as much as possible about each option and the alternatives for paying for these facilities and services. Having these preparations in place can bring you peace of mind and give some relief to loved ones who may have concerns about your future well-being.

What facility is right for me?

With the right financial planning, you may have more opportunities open to you in the future, and the choices you make about your living arrangements are more likely to be appropriate for your current needs. For example, presently, you may not need a nursing home, which offers around-the-clock nursing care as well as care for the end of your life. If you are still able to perform some daily tasks, a nursing home may not be right for you.

Picking an appropriate long-term care option means considering many factors, such as the types of services you need, the location you prefer, your preferences for accommodations and amenities, and what you can afford, among other things. Some of the facilities available include:

  • Health care aids who come into your home to assist with personal and health-related tasks
  • Comprehensive in-home medical care
  • Day programs that provide opportunities for socialization
  • Independent housing for seniors with amenities including housekeeping and meal preparation
  • Assisted living facilities if you need minimal medical supervision
  • Continuing care communities, which provide many of the above programs, allowing you to move from level to level as your needs require

Sometimes, you may need more comprehensive care temporarily, such as following surgery, and you will likely want to return to a life as independent as possible after your recovery. Discussing all your options and changing needs with your loved ones as early as possible is a smart move. This will allow everyone involved time to consider what is available and to assist you in making the preparations to improve your chances of reaching your goals for your long-term care.