Understanding the True Cost of Caregiving
People often underestimate the cost of caregiving. Whether it is the cost of care for a senior living in their own home, an aging parent living with an adult child, or a senior living in a senior living community; cost becomes a primary factor that must be understood to make appropriate and effective life-impacting decisions.
Each person’s situation consists of a series of unique variables that will ultimately dictate which options and solutions are available for their care needs. These variables include the level and frequency of care, whether the senior is on Medicaid or Medicare, has long-term care insurance, has a long-term care annuity, or has the financial means to privately pay for their care.
Sometimes seniors and their loved ones casually assume that transitioning to a charming senior living community nearby is straightforward, only to discover later that there are care level restrictions, regulations regarding payor sources, and ancillary costs that are prohibitive to those plans.
When it comes to understanding the cost of caregiving and putting yourself or your loved one in the best position to make cost-effective care decisions, utilize the following five-step strategy.
1. Take Time to Plan
Most crises can be avoided with proper planning. Too often, we fall victim to human nature and put off until tomorrow what can (and should) be done today. Then, when faced with the unexpected expenses of senior living placement or senior care, we find ourselves overwhelmed by the urgent financial demands.
2. Contact a Senior Living Professional
It is not uncommon for people to jump into the waters of senior caregiving to quickly find themselves in need of a lifeline. LivWell Seniors is your lifeline to help you navigate senior care. Not only will our senior resource specialists assist you in identifying your senior living options, they will also be able to connect you with trusted financial, legal, and caregiving professionals that will provide you with the resources and guidance necessary to maximize your senior living options.
3. Fully Assess and Anticipate Care Needs
Care needs are essential to enjoying a high quality of life. Do not assume the level of care you or your loved one will require or that which the senior living community is required to provide by law. Create a list of all the activities of daily living (ADLs) that you or your loved one needs assistance with. These will include things like bathing, personal hygiene, medication management, meal preparation, etc. If you are in the early planning stages for senior placement, anticipate what care needs may be required in the future and figure those potential costs into your financial planning.
4. Learn the Lingo of the Senior Care Industry
Like any industry, the senior care industry has its own lingo. Learn some of the common terminology used by the industry so you can fully participate in conversations with doctors, nurses, care planners, and facility professionals.
5. Familiarize Yourself with Care Industry Regulations and Criteria
The care industry is regulated by numerous federal and state regulations designed to ensure patient safety and welfare. Likewise, each senior living community will have a set of criteria they use to determine what payor sources they can accept as well as the level of care they are able to provide. Some communities will accept private pay dollars only or they may not be able to provide the level of care you or your loved one needs.
While it will not be necessary to know and recite regulations by memory, it will be to your advantage to have a general understanding of common regulations and criteria or to know how to access this information when needed.
LivWell Seniors wishes to emphasize that you are not alone. Please feel free to reach out by clicking the phone icon located at the bottom right of the app to connect with a senior resource specialist who will help you understand the true cost of caregiving as it relates to your circumstances.