Preparing for the possibility of long-term care for yourself or a loved one is a daunting task. First and foremost is the cost, which depends on the type and duration of care you need, the provider you use, and where you live. Currently, the cost of long-term care in a skilled-care facility in Northern Kentucky can range between $9,000 to $12,000 monthly. A home health aide, meanwhile, can cost at least $4,000 per month, depending on the type of care provided. The level of care and living arrangements can affect your costs greatly, and there are various types of long-term care available.
Types of Long-Term Care
1. Nursing Homes
Nursing homes give residents supervision 24 hours a day. They typically provide nursing care, three daily meals, help with the various activities of daily living (i.e., bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, eating, and continence) and usually rehabilitation services. This typically includes physical, occupational, and speech therapy.
Some nursing home residents only require short-term rehabilitation after a hospital stay or injury. More often, residents have long-term physical or mental health conditions that require longer or even permanent stays.
Planning for nursing home care is a huge step, and there are resources available to help, such as Medicare's Nursing Home Comparison site, or other resources with reviews of nursing home facilities in Northern Kentucky.
- Assisted Living Facilities
Assisted living residences are for older adults who need some help with daily life and cannot live fully on their own. These residents are healthy enough to live without round-the-clock care, but may require help with dressing, bathing, and taking medications.
Kentucky's Department for Aging and Assisted Living has resources available for families considering long-term care under this or other options.
- Residential Care Homes
Residential care homes can provide the same basic services as large, assisted living centers. Staffers at these homes help with personal needs and medication management, and medical emergencies. These facilities may offer various levels of care, from independent living to high levels of assisted living, so it helps to do your research and see how a facility will best suit you or your family member.
- Continuing Care Retirement Communities
Continuing care retirement communities combine different levels of care on one campus. One advantage of these homes is continuity and the ability to remain in the same place as a person ages. A major obstacle, though, is cost, with entry fees averaging more than $300,000, according to the AARP.
- Veteran Care
Veterans may qualify for veteran-specific levels of care through nursing homes and other facilities. They may include nursing homes contracted through the Department of Veterans Affairs or at homes operated by the VA. Veterans also may qualify to use certain funds for assisted living and home care that the general public does not.
Costs of Long-Term Care: Who Pays for it?
While some of these costs can be covered by Medicare or some other form of insurance, the prospective costs can be mind-boggling to those on fixed incomes. Many adults find themselves paying with their own savings, a retirement fund, proceeds from a home sale or reverse mortgage or wrestling through the Medicaid process. It's highly advised that you consult with an elder law attorney before doing any of these. There are many metaphorical landmines that can be avoided by seeking competence counsel.
Often, an individual or family believes that Medicare, their health insurance, or their disability insurance will cover the costs of a long-term care facility. In reality, none of these sources may pay for long-term care unless an individual is admitted to the facility after a “qualified stay” in a hospital and the individual requires “qualified medical care.” In such an instance, Medicare benefits could be available, but only up to a maximum of 100 days, with a copay after the first 20 days and with payment only continuing as long as the person is receiving qualified medical care (usually a type of therapy) and showing benefit from said therapy.
Planning in Advance for Long-Term Care to Avoid Surprises
The sticker shock associated with nursing home care, assisted living, or other forms of long-term care may be lessened by careful planning well in advance. Although it is human nature to avoid discussing old age and infirmity, the reality is 70% of those over 65 will need some type of long-term care, and 20% of those people will need it for longer than five years.
The sooner you start planning for the prospect of long-term care, the better prepared you and your family will be. You do not need to do it on your own – an experienced Northern Kentucky elder law attorneys with years of experience in this area can help with your plan and put you down the right path.
Even if a crisis has arisen and the need is immediate, an attorney can help you navigate the myriad options and complicated financial issues you may face. Rarely is it ever too late to benefit from calling an elder law attorney.
Contact Darpel Elder Law for a Consultation
Regardless of where you are in the long-term care planning process, meeting with an experienced attorney with knowledge of these issues is one of the best moves you can make. Contact Darpel Elder Law today to schedule a comprehensive consultation and discuss your options. Call our office at (859) 341-4100, or visit our website at www.darpelelderlaw.com