For many people, planning for long-term care simply means ensuring there is a way to pay for nursing home care if you ever need it. Nursing home care isn't the only type of long-term care you might need as you age, and it's a good idea to understand all the options for care so you can plan accordingly. Here are four options you and your family might consider in addition to or as a replacement for nursing home care.
In-home care is an option many people choose so they can keep a loved one with family or more comfortable. Depending on the situation, in-home care can be a big commitment, so it's important to plan well for this step and make sure everyone is on the same page with the decision. In some cases, in-home care might only involve family checking in with you on a regular basis or providing a nurse who stops by to check vitals and monitor medications. In other cases, in-home care must be around the clock and in some situations it's simply not safe or feasible to provide this care.
Another option for individuals who are able to care for their own daily needs is an adult outpatient program. Senior day programs let you get valuable medical or mental health care while also interacting with others and participating in activities.
Senior housing can be an affordable way to live on your own in a community of like-minded individuals. Often, this lifestyle is available in small villas, apartments or town homes and tasks such as yard work are handled for you. A little further up the assistance spectrum is assisted living; you still live alone, but you have access to additional help when needed.
Working with a legal professional to understand your options and set foundations for end-of-life care now is a good idea. In addition to creating a will, you might work with a lawyer to plan a trust to fund your long-term care.
Source: Mayo Clinic, "Long-term care: Early planning pays off," accessed Nov. 18, 2016