There can be many different impacts when unexpected long-term care needs arise for an elderly individual. Such needs could cause an elderly individual's medical costs to balloon, which could put them at a greater risk of having their retirement assets run out while they are still alive.
Given the tough financial situation unexpected care needs can create, such needs, when they arise, can sometimes lead to elderly individuals and their families having to make some difficult decisions, such as:
- Whether to keep an elderly individual in the specific care facility they initially chose or move them to a less-expensive option.
- Whether to have care for the elderly individual provided by family members rather than hiring outside help.
- Whether to arrange some sort of living-together arrangement between the elderly individual and family members.
- Whether to sell off cherished and important family assets to pay for the care.
Facing these sorts of choices can be very emotionally hard on an elderly individual and their family. Thus, seniors and their families generally hope to avoid ever having to have such decisions come before them.
Properly preparing for the possibility of unexpected long-term care needs can sometimes cut down the likelihood that an elderly individual and their family will be caught off-guard by long-term care costs down the road. It also, in some circumstances, may be able to help an elderly individual and their family in their efforts to avoid having to face certain tough decisions in the future.
One thing that can often help with such preparations is including long-term care planning in one's estate planning. Estate planning lawyers can provide individuals with information of how they can plan for potential future long-term care needs in their estate plan.
Of course, sometimes even with solid planning, tough decisions can end up arising in relation to long-term care needs. Attorneys can help elderly individuals who are facing difficult long-term-care-related decisions understand how the decisions could impact the state of their estate plan and whether there may be certain adjustments they can make to their estate plan to help best ensure that it will still be able to properly promote their estate planning goals.
Source: USA Today, "Families face tough decisions as cost of elder care soars," Matthew Craft, July 25, 2015