There are many things that a person may not desire to think about much as they get older. One is the possibility of someday needing to be in a nursing home. This is understandable; the thought of one day being in a medical state in which you could no longer live at home and receive the care you need can be disquieting. However, whether you think about it or not, nursing home care is something that very well could be in your future. Federal government estimates have put the odds of needing nursing home care at around 40 percent for individuals at least 65 years of age.
Thus, rather than simply succumbing to the temptation to ignore the possibility of nursing home care, it can be a good idea to put some thought towards the possibility and to prepare for it. Our article, "Planning For Nursing Home and Long-Term Care," discusses in detail some of the ways a person can prepare for the possibility of future nursing home care.
When people think of nursing home care planning, their mind may immediately go to dealing with the costs of such care. Given the high costs that can go with such care, this is understandable. However, it is important to not forget that there are things beyond just financial matters that planning for future nursing home care can address.
One is the possibility of no longer being able to make medical decisions when in nursing home care. Some medical conditions that cause an elderly individual to need nursing home care can also impair a person's decision-making or communication abilities. It is highly possible that a person has very specific ideas as to what they would want done in regards to medical decisions if this were to occur.
A living will may be able to help in this regard. A living will is an advance medical directive that contains terms regarding medical decisions that are to take effect in the event that a person becomes unable to make/communicate medical decisions. The terms can be as general or as specific as a person wants, so living wills can be highly tailored to reflect a person's individual wishes.
Individuals interested in having a living will as part of their long term care planning should consider seeking out the help of an attorney with experience in the preparing and drafting of such documents.