Growing Old — Not Me!

Working for the past 30 years as a medical social worker primarily with elders and their families, it is difficult if nearly impossible for me to have my “head in the sand” about the potential physical, emotional and financial tolls that care giving and long-term care needs can have.

But, I’m really not surprised to learn that according to a recent poll by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs reported on in the Washington Post on 5/2/13, most people are in denial that growing old will happen to them and that the chances of needing costly care if not a probability, is at least a strong possibility. The truth of the matter is that the majority of us will grow old (more so now than ever before) and according to government records, seven of ten people over age 65 will need some type of long-term or elder care. The average period of care is three years, but someone with dementia can live with the disease many more years than that and have significant care needs.

Here in Phoenix, the average cost of assisted living for an individual is $2500-3500/month. The average cost of a memory care facility is $5,000/month. Private home care services average $20/hour. The Arizona Long-Term Care System through our Medicaid program can cover the cost of some home care, skilled nursing care and assisted living. In addition, the Aid & Attendance benefit through the Veterans’ Administration is available for qualified veterans and/or surviving spouses. However, without proper planning and guidance, elders may not know they could be eligible for these programs. Many people are under the mistaken impression that Medicare pays for long-term or custodial care. It does not. They also believe that following a hospitalization Medicare will always cover 100 days in a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation. Unfortunately, many people are discharged well short of the 100 days but may still require care.

The very essence of a Life Care Planning law firm is to help people plan and prepare for what may lie ahead in terms of long-term care. Elder care attorneys are uniquely qualifed to assist elders and their families with these issues. Don’t wait until there is a crisis before talking to your family about your wishes and expectations for care or for seeking skilled advice about planning.



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