The Four Principles of Long Term Care Planning

The Four Principles of Long Term Care Planning

The four principles:

  • Knowledge is the key to success.
  • Professional help is crucial in saving time, money and stress.
  • When money is available for care, caregiver stress is reduced and care options are expanded
  • Success is assured through a written agreement with all parties involved.

Knowledge Is the Key to Success  
Understanding in advance care settings and when and why they are appropriate will result in the most satisfactory experience for the caregiver, the care recipient and the family. Understanding how government programs work helps with the final decision-making process.
Prior knowledge prevents crisis planning.
Prior knowledge will save money.
Prior knowledge will save precious time.
Prior knowledge will rescue the caregiver.
Prior knowledge opens the door to other options.
Professional Help Is Crucial in Saving Time, Money and Stress
Long term care services are complicated and expensive. For the majority of Americans, eldercare is a do-it-yourself process. This approach is wrong. Using professional care advisers is the most cost effective and efficient way to provide help for a loved one. Hiring professional advisers to help with long term care is no different than using a professional to help with other complex issues. Does do-it-yourself make sense in the following examples?
Sam has a 2003 SUV. He decides to purchase the $600 service manual and invest thousands of dollars in test equipment and in special tools to repair the vehicle himself. He feels he will save money by doing this instead of paying for expensive dealer repair services.
Sally is involved in a complicated court proceeding. She decides to represent herself and invests countless hours in researching legal documents and reading books on how to represent herself in court.
Jim runs a business with 100 employees. He has no experience in accounting or taxes but he decides his accountant and tax person is too expensive and he will invest the time and money in software to do it himself.
Grace is a successful and busy professional who has little personal time. She doesn’t like the idea of paying an investment adviser to manage her $1 million portfolio. She decides to manage it herself.
There is no doubt that given enough time and money a person could repair his own car, handle a court process alone, research tax laws or spend countless hours doing his own investment research. But most people are smart enough to recognize that the time and the stress involved are not worth it and they hire an expert to help them. And even if a do-it-yourselfer has enough time for research, that person is unlikely to have the experience in handling care situations that a professional long-term care expert would have. Experience only comes from dealing with countless hands-on, caregiving challenges.
An elder law attorney should always be involved when the time for long-term care comes. The use of this expert is crucially important in any long term care plan.
Other useful professionals to consider are a professional care manager, a long term care and financial planning specialist and an elder mediator. These experts help design the initial plan and can be valuable team members in certain situations when the time for care comes.
Using the expertise of a long term care professional is likely to result in dollar savings many times larger than the cost of hiring the expert.
When Money is Available for Care, Caregiver Stress Is Reduced and Care Options Are Expanded
Without money to hire professional advice or to provide the most desired care setting, the only option is to rely on Medicaid. This typically means a nursing home. Other limited options are available from Medicaid or from community aging services but they are often inadequate and there are usually waiting lists.
Common Funding Options

  • Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Life Settlement
  • Reverse Mortgage
  • Cashing Out Of a Principal Residence through Sale or Buyback Arrangement
  • Retirement Savings Accounts
  • Life Insurance Arrangements

Common Asset Saving Strategies

  • Medicaid Planning
  • Rearranging Insurance Plans
  • Private Home Care Arrangements
  • Work Closely with Your Doctor
  • Understand the Pricing of Community with Care Arrangements
  • Purchase the Right Amount of Long Term Care Insurance
  • Family Shared Care Commitments
  • Tax Advantage Strategies

Success Is Assured through a Comprehensive Plan with All Parties Involved
People planning for long-term care must make their wishes known to family or other involved caregivers, they must choose a care advocate, they must provide funding and they should have their legal documents already in place.
No plan is complete without a formal meeting and a care agreement that is understood, put in writing, agreed upon and retained by everyone involved. Everyone involved is also given instructions and checklists to follow when the time for care comes.
For help with long-term care planning for you or your loved one, call our MS elder law attorneys today at 601-987-3000.