As Californians age and start to consider retirement planning and estate planning issues, they may want to think about their own potential need for long-term care. It may not be a pleasant thought for people to confront their own human frailty, but when it comes to ensuring that you are prepared for any health issue, long-term health insurance may be an essential that should not be overlooked.
Long-term care is not just for senior citizens. Anybody who needs help with daily personal functions due to disability or illness can also be covered under the umbrella of long-term care. A lot of the reasons why a person might need long-term care are associated with old age, such as Alzheimer's disease and other cognitive impairments, and of course, the physical limitations that accompany the body's breakdown with age. For most people, no matter how healthy they are currently, the reasons why they might need long-term care are largely natural and unavoidable consequences that come with life in the twilight years.
The fact is that most people who take advantage of long-term care facilities in California are elderly, and the number of people who are expected to need some form of long-term care is growing significantly. Not all of these individuals are relegated entirely to nursing homes, as more than half of all people who use long-term care also receive support from a spouse, family member or other loved one or a home nurse or assistant.
Planning for long-term care should be part of every individual's estate plan discussion, as it can be incredibly expensive and can put those who don't plan accordingly in a tough financial position. In addition to a discussion on an advance health care directive and living will, it might be worth discussing long-term care options with an experienced estates and trusts attorney.
Source: California Department on Aging "Long-term care guide," accessed Feb. 24, 2015