Did you know? An American turning 65 today has a nearly 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care in his or her remaining years, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Women need care longer (3.7 years) than men (2.2 years). Aging is inevitable, so take action now on how to prepare for long-term care in New York.
What is Long-Term Care?
Long-term care is described as the services and support to help people improve or maintain their health and capabilities. Senior citizens, as a group, receive the majority of long-term care services, but long-term care can be provided to individuals of any age.
What Health Issues Necessitate Long-Term Care?
- Age-Related Health Conditions: As people age, they face more health problems. Common age-related health conditions include heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and brittle bones (osteoporosis).
- Chronic Medical Conditions: Chronic diseases, which are illnesses that are long-lasting and usually aren’t curable, are the leading causes of disability and death in New York and throughout the U.S., according to the New York State Department of Health. Cystic fibrosis, asthma, obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) are some of the many chronic diseases.
- Cognitive Impairment: Brain health changes as people grow older. Occasional forgetfulness in one’s 60s may be an indicator of future dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. People with severe cognitive impairment have difficulties with mobility, speech, writing, moderating their behavior, and performing daily tasks.
- Disabilities and Injuries: People with permanent disabilities (mental or physical) may receive long-term care in an adult care facility, at a community center, or in their home. Those who have been severely injured in an accident may receive rehabilitation services in their residence until they recover.
Understanding Long-Term Care Options
Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home health care are the most common types of long-term care in New York. When considering how to prepare for long-term care, families should speak with a Long Island elder law attorney to determine the best option for their particular financial and legal situation.
Nursing homes provide the most hands-on care for residents. The New York State Department of Health estimates the average annual rate for nursing homes in Long Island is $169,704.
Assisted living facilities offer room, board, and aid to people who have some mobility and do not require ongoing medical assistance. Residents usually live in their own apartments and share common areas. SeniorLiving.org found that the average yearly cost for an assisted living facility in New York State is $54,960.
Home health care, where a caregiver helps a person in their own home, ranges from $17 to $29 per hour in New York State, according to Genworth.
Planning for Long-Term Care
The usual advice about eating a nutritious diet, exercising, and avoiding vices like smoking and alcohol still stands. But even healthy people in great shape can experience sudden changes in their health. Although most people in or near retirement worry that they’ll run out of money if they need long-term care, they procrastinate making a plan because they don’t understand the options available to them, such as long-term care insurance, Medicaid benefits, and other government programs.
However, planning for the future doesn’t have to be a confusing exercise. And, with a plan, you can reduce the possibility of draining all your assets. Talk to a Long Island elder law lawyer on how to prepare for long-term care. Ask the attorney to explain Medicaid eligibility in New York (the rules change often) and the advantages and limits of long-term care insurance.
Legal and Financial Considerations
In addition to preparing for long-term care, it is important to create a legal plan that family members and medical personnel can follow. A long-term care attorney can provide advice on wills, estate plans and advance directives for medical care.
There is a common misconception among some individuals that if they transfer their home to their relatives, Medicaid will cover their long-term care costs. Similarly, some military veterans believe that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will provide full coverage for their long-term care. However, these assumptions are not accurate, and strict eligibility criteria must be met for seniors to qualify for certain programs. Due to the intricate asset transfer rules of Medicaid and the VA’s guidelines, seeking the advice of a long-term care attorney for the most up-to-date regulations is crucial.
Rely on Sheryll Law to Create a Secure Long-Term Care Plan
How to prepare for long-term care requires an honest assessment of one’s health and finances. It also requires legal instruments and a keen understanding of federal and state government programs. Sheryll Law, P.C. is committed to working hard on your behalf so that you and your family can face the retirement years with confidence, no matter what may happen. Contact us today at (631) 506-8440 or complete our online form to schedule a consultation.
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