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Transcript: "Planning for Long Term Care"

[Narrator] As people age, their chances of needing long-term care increase. In fact, about 70 percent of people over age 65 will need some type of long-term care during their lifetime. To plan for long-term care, you should consider personal, financial, housing, and legal issues. [Linda Velgouse] If you’re thinking about personal issues, you certainly should be thinking about what your risks are for long-term care. You should be looking at what your family history is for longevity or for chronic conditions. You should think about what family or friends you have who would be willing or able, who live near you, who would be able to help you if you needed long-term care.

[Narrator] Financial issues include looking at your resources and researching the costs of the care you might need.

[Linda Velgouse] Long-term care services are pretty expensive and you need to understand if you need an adult day care what that costs. You also need to know what it included in those costs. You need to think about what your own financial situation is once you kind of understand what the costs are. Do you have enough money?

[Narrator] In addition to personal funds, possible ways to pay for long-term care include government health insurance programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare, and private financing options, such as long-term care insurance, reverse mortgages, and some life insurance With housing, many people prefer to stay in their own homes as they get older. So it is important to access how adaptable your living situation is to future health needs.

[Linda Velgouse] Would you be able to stay in that home, if you became disabled, if you couldn’t walk stairs, if you needed a wheelchair? What would the modifications be that you would need to make in that home and how much would they cost? Would you be able to afford those?

[Narrator] Legal planning for long-term care includes creating advance directives, official documents that state your wishes for medical care in an emergency and at the end of life. These include a health care power of attorney, a living will, and a DNR, or do-not-resuscitate order.

[Linda Velgouse] Health care powers of attorney, often called durable powers of attorney, are again an advance care directive -- they’re legal documents that express your wishes -- but also designate a specific person who will speak for you if you are not able to speak for yourself. The living will is really a document that details what kind of care you want to receive, and it would be used in a situation where you are not able to speak for yourself. A do-not-resuscitate order is a physician’s order. It is based on your request and information to your physician. That order is placed in your medical record in the hospital and it basically tells providers when you don’t want life-saving treatments to continue.

[Narrator] The time to plan for your long-term care needs is before you actually need them.

[Linda Velgouse] If you’re in good health, that is absolutely the best time to begin thinking about long-term care. It’s when you have the most options available to you. It’s when you have time to actually think about and plan, talk with your family, decide what you want to do. I think about it as akin to planning for retirement. The earlier and the more planning you do for retirement, the better your retirement will probably be. So I think it’s the same thing for long-term care.

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