Long Term Care is the assistance provided when an individual is no longer able to safely care for themselves, as a result of a disability or prolonged illness. Such assistance ranges from providing personal care at home to help with Activities of Daily Living in Assisted Living Homes or skilled nursing services in a Nursing Home.
Long Term care may be offered through Private Duty Agencies, Adult Day Care Centers, Assisted Living Facilities, Adult Care Homes, Senior Centers, and traditional Nursing Homes.
We have worked in the Elder care industry for the last 15 years. During that time, we have seen people’s life savings wasted away because they did not have long term care, or the financial planning that they so severely needed. Everything, that they worked their whole lives for was diminished within a few years and in some cases a few months.
No one plans to be destitute, they just plain fail to plan. Often this left the spouse with the financial burden, which in many cases has turned into their children’s financial burden. We are now faced with the situation that life expectancy has increased dramatically over the last decade.
Are you going to be ready? Are you aware that a child born in 2000 now has the average life expectancy of 120 years of age? They have not disclosed what the quality will be, but as you can see there is the quantity that we have to prepare for now.
Long Term Care policies offer you the peace of mind of knowing that you will have a choice of where you will receive care, while not burdening your estate or family members with the high costs of care. Studies have shown that nearly 50% of those who turn age 65 will require Nursing Home care at some time in their life. 1 in 3 people who live to age 65 will spend 3 months or more in a Nursing Home, while 1 in 4 will spend one year or more in a Nursing Home.
While 60% of people who will need long term care are 65 and older, 40% are adults in their prime earning years between ages 16 to 64. It is an unfortunate fact that untimely injuries or illnesses may strike at any time. Long Term Care is expensive! Medicare and most health insurance policies will not pay for Assisted Living.
The current average costs of Nursing Home care in Maricopa County is over $72,000.00 per year and rising. Personal Care at home from an aid 3 times a week for 2 hours a day can cost an excess of $10,000.00 per year. If you want to have care in your own home 24 hours a day, the average costs in excess $140,000.00 per year, this is for an unlicensed care provider. Adult Care Home’s will provide 24 hour care for your loved one at typical cost of $36,000.00 per year.
Who pays for Long Term Care?
Quite simply you pay for it through your cash, your assets and your family’s assets. Medicaid provides no assistance until all of your assets and your spouses’ assets have been consumed. Such people who have higher assets of income end up “Spending down”, their life savings, and assets to nearly nothing, in order to qualify for Medicaid benefits.
In our 15 years in the industry, it was not uncommon to see people who thought that they had planned ahead for retirement, only to have to spend down six figures, and become paupers in less than eighteen months.
If only we could have met them before it was too late, and helped them bulletproof their estates with an appropriate ALTCS Plan or VA Plan. With such financial shields in place their choices and independence would have been protected in their time of need.
You see, only when your assets run dry does Medicaid step in however at this point you will no longer have the choice of who provides your care or where the care is provided. You are now dependent on the state and a faceless social worker controls your destiny. You have just lost all of your assets and your independence. Your choices are non-existent.
One of the facts of aging is that some of us will eventually be unable to take care of ourselves and will need some form of assistance, either with home health care, an adult care home or a nursing home. Aside from the personal aspects of being debilitated, which can be devastating, there is the equally devastating financial cost.
In Arizona, the cost of a nursing home is over $6000 per month. At that rate it would not take long to deplete the resources of most families. Those fortunate enough to have unlimited resources can provide for this care. Those who have little or nothing can turn to government programs for aid.
But where does that leave those who have worked hard over the years to save a modest nest egg for their retirement? They have too much to qualify for aid, and what they do have will be exhausted in a very short period of time paying for long term care.
If you find yourself in this dilemma, take comfort in knowing that there are solutions. Arizona, through Medicaid, has developed a program for long term care known as ALTCS (Arizona Long Term Care System-ALTCS-in Arizona). As with all Medicaid programs, recipients must meet eligibility requirements to qualify for benefits.
Since there are legal ways to protect some of your assets and save thousands of dollars for your loved ones, the first thing to keep in mind is that delay is your worst enemy and that it’s never too late to do something. Thus, planning is essential.
A Long Term Care Plan when properly crafted can shield you from the grim reality of Nursing Home/ Assisted Living care. A Long Term Care Plan can pay for assistance either in your home, in Assisted Living, or in a Nursing Home.
A Long Term Care Plan provides:
1. Protection for you and your loved ones when you need it most
2. Protection for your hard earned assets
3. You and your loved one’s peace of mind, knowing that your care and needs are provided for
4. Dignity and independence
5. Choices that are not offered through government assistance
ALTCS (Arizona Long Term Care)
If your loved one is already ill, or perhaps already in a nursing home, do not despair. While they will not qualify for a standard insurance company’s long term care policy there is still hope. We may be able to qualify your loved one for Arizona Long Term Care. It is an alternative to private insurance and we can work it into any estate plan.
Statistics show that about half of all people reaching sixty-five will reside in a nursing home at some time in their lives. In a perfect world, the person would be covered by nursing home insurance, but for those who are not, the earlier in the aging process that the family analyzes its financial situation and reaches a clear understanding of asset protection planning techniques, the greater the likelihood that assets can be preserved.