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70 percent of 65-year-olds will need long-term care in the future

Many people spend tons of time preparing and planning for some things--like a wedding or a vacation--and virtually no time on other important issues--such as long-term care. The problem is that many Michigan residents do not like to think about a time when they may become partially or fully incapacitated or need to rely on the care of others. Long term planning is crucial, however, for those who want to protect their interests and their families and ensure that their wishes are carried.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the potential need for long-term care is great: approximately 70 percent of people aged 65 will eventually need long-term care of some kind. Nearly 1/5 of those people will be forced to rely on long-term care for five years or more. Long-term care could mean intensive supervision and care 24 hours a day or the assistance of a personal caregiver for certain tasks. When planning for long-term care, it is generally recommended that people understand the options (typically an assisted-living facility, the assistance of a caregiver in one's own home or a nursing home facility) and consider the costs of those options. Knowing how Medicare and Medicaid work in terms of eligibility, coverage, and other key factors is also critical. People planning for long-term care also need to make decisions about how they intend or want to pay for any needed care: personal funds (often retirement savings), insurance or Medicaid and Medicare.

Navigating these issues can be difficult and complex. Many Michigan residents may not fully understand the details and intricacies of the systems in place. There are many different issues potentially involved in one's long-term care plan, depending on each person's unique goals and desires. For example, some people may want to understand how to preserve assets while still qualifying for Medicaid, while others may be more interested in how to effectively pass on some of their wealth to their children.

One of the most important things about long-term care planning is beginning the process soon enough, while you are still young enough to take advantage of all possible options and competent enough to make your wishes clear. Speaking with an attorney experienced in this area of law can help Michigan residents planning for their elder years best understand and respond to the array of issues that can affect them and their loved ones down the road.

Source: USA Today, "5 ways to prepare for long-term care costs," Alex Veiga, Oct. 4, 2014

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