When caring for aging parents as they begin to lose independence, it's easy to get in the habit of responding to their needs -- and considering them for the first time -- as they pop up. In doing so, some options aren't available or even known about when we make care decisions. But making a plan with an aging parent or parents about their long-term care in advance allows you to create a blueprint that satisfies everyone involved.
Most importantly, if you die unexpectedly before your parents, a plan will still be in place for their long-term care.
To create a plan, find out if their health insurance covers long-term care; usually, it does not. Become familiar with what Medicare and Medicaid will and will not cover. Contact an insurance company to see if long-term care insurance is available to your parents. Your parents may also be good candidates for a reverse mortgage, in which a portion of the equity in their home is converted into cash.
Don't forget that a healthy diet and exercise plan are important parts of planning for aging parents' long-term care. By staying active, your parents will improve their health, independence and longevity. As you speak with them, all parties will develop a better idea of what services and resources are available, and how they will be obtained.
It may often feel like it when you're caring for an aging parent, but as we'll discuss next, you're not alone.