According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), about 70% of people turning age 65 will need long term care services at some point in their lives. With this staggering statistic, it is imperative that you begin to have conversations NOW about your health care wishes.
Who should meet?
In planning for long term care for either yourself, a loved one, or a family friend, it is important that no one makes this decision alone. This is a weighty decision that will not only impact that direct person involved but indirectly impact their families. It is best to hold a meeting with close family and friends where all concerns can be discussed openly and honestly. Make sure the meeting is comprised of an intimate number – maybe five or six people – to ensure that the process is not overwhelming and everyone is heard.
When should you meet?
You should have conversations about long term care as early as possible. It is best not to wait until you or your loved one is sick. As you near retirement or start your estate planning process, it would be good to include a conversation about long term care. When planning the meeting, try not to coordinate it around a holiday or big family functions as these events can be stressful. Set aside a time when no one will feel rushed and try to make the atmosphere as relaxing as possible. Do not feel obligated to have everyone present. With technology such as Skype, FaceTime, or free conference calling, there are many alternative communications methods that can be utilized for a successful meeting.
What about your finances?
As you begin the conversations with your close family and friends, you should also consider your finances. There should be an honest discussion on how savings and insurance information can be utilized in case of serious illness. Will you have a power of attorney? This may be something to consider. You should also think about utilizing a company that could partner with your selected personal care home and decipher your insurance information.