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Plan for long-term care needs

We plan for our children’s’ college, weddings. We plan for our vacations, retirement. But do we plan for our long-term care needs? Unfortunately many of us do not plan for the needs we will have as we age, or if we become disabled prior to retirement.

We know it’s good to plan ahead, so here are some reasons to plan for your long-term care needs, how to have that discussion with our loved ones and resources to help guide you through this important need.

Long-term care is help needed by people with illnesses that last a long time: chronic conditions like COPD, disabilities or a short-term need after a hip replacement. Long-term care includes services one may need to help take care of themselves, such as adding a ramp to your home for easy access, help with housekeeping or a nurse for medication management.

Many think they will never need long-term care, but the odds of needing it increase as people get older. Approximately 30 percent of people 65 or older will never need care, but 20 percent will need care for five years or more.

Women are more likely to need long-term care than men, since women usually outlive men.

Poor lifestyle choices also raise the risk for chronic disease.

Plan ahead

Planning ahead for long-term care needs puts you in the driver seat. You can let your family and loved ones know what you want if you would need long-term care instead of others making decisions for you in an emergency situation.

Planning ahead gives you:

•Peace of mind

•More choices

•Time to determine, clarify and prioritize your goals

•Reduce potential conflict or misunderstanding with family, caregivers.

•Reduce burden on others

•Easier to plan when you are physically and mentally able

•Time to seek advice from professionals

•Protect your financial security.

Hard discussion

Having discussions about long-term care can be difficult.

Sometimes family and loved ones do not want to talk about it, and other times you don’t want to talk about the possibility of needing someone to care for you.

By having open conversations you are giving a gift to your family and yourself.

Here are some tips on how to have that conversion with you family:

•Plan a time to have the discussion.

•Make sure the right people are present to have this conversation

•Be honest with your family of what you want for long-term care

•Don’t expect everyone to agree initially

•Plan on multiple conversations over time.

For family members:

•Don’t have preconceived ideas and expect mom or dad to accept it

•Approach the conversation with a listening attitude, not telling them what you want

•Let mom or dad know your feelings and thoughts about future needs

•Be honest and straightforward

•Let loved one be upset; this is a difficult thing to face

•Make sure everyone is heard

•End the conversation on a positive note.

Long-term care is not something one wants to admit they will need.

We also don’t want to think about dying, but we plan for that with life insurance — so plan for your needs in the future and involve your family or loved ones so everyone knows what you want.

Find additional long-term care resources at