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Long-Term Doesn’t Mean Put It Off Until Later

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Gregory Peebles is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA), Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP), and trained Medicare Counselor, whose work focuses on helping aging adults and folks with limited independence by navigating resources and support to help them discover and lead their best life. Gregory has been a key member of the CCM team for over a decade. – Charlotte

This is the final installment in a three-part series to help clear up some common misconceptions about Medicare that are more important for Caregivers than your older loved ones.

We started our series with the structure of Medicare [link], and moved last week to surprising omissions of coverage [link], chief among which is long-term or “custodial” care. When folks discover that Medicare does not cover residence in a Skilled Nursing Facility (used to be called a “nursing home”), it can be startling. And if they are waiting until they need this residential care, it is too late to prepare.  Managing the options available requires a little planning, though, and the sooner it starts, the more effective it can be.

Several insurance companies provide long-term care packages, and some options are even provided through employers and may be available to you now —provided you know what to ask for. Individual policies are also available, but, if initiated later in life, premiums can be quite high. These premiums also potentially increase with age, and this can make the option less viable for some. Important to consider, too, in your planning, is that income typically goes down with age, and the premiums must continue to be paid so long as the beneficiary is receiving care. This means that the earlier you invest in long-term care, the more likely it is to be affordable for as long as you need it.

Important services covered by long-term insurance usually include:

  • SNF, or “nursing home” stays;
  • Assisted Living;
  • Adult Day Care Services;
  • Home Care; and
  • Home Modification.

As none of these services is covered by Original Medicare, the benefit of having a long-term care policy is clear. In fact, home care and home modification services increase the amount of time adults can age-in-place, which is the preferred option for most. So, wherever you are in your journey, consider putting methods in place that bolster the existing benefits of Medicare and increase your options for quality of life while maintaining your hard-earned savings.  It is never too early to plan!

Charlotte Bishop is an Aging Life Care Advisor, Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Care Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago.  She also is the co-author of How Do I Know You? A Caregiver’s Lifesaver for Dealing with Dementia.

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