By Roberto Muñiz
President & CEO
There is a statistic that I hear often and I’m sure you have heard it as well - 70% of people over the age of 65 can expect to use some form of long-term care during their lives
. Many people make the assumption that this means nursing home care for an extended period of time – but it does not.
Long-term care includes a wide range of services, care and support that many people may need at some point in their lives, and very often for a limited period of time – think rehab after knee or hip replacement surgery.
Along with skilled services like rehab, assistance is also available for personal tasks of everyday life, like bathing, dressing or preparing meals. Other support might include help with housework, medication management, transportation or shopping services. It’s important to know what services are available and to think about how, if you need them, you will pay for them if they are not covered by Medicare or other health care coverage.
Just like any other life event, whether marriage, buying a house, having a child, paying for college (and the list goes on) planning for your future can be an exciting prospect.
With the holiday season around the corner, now is an opportunity to talk with your family and friends about how and where you want to grow older. Take a few index cards and jot down these questions, along with some others that are important to you, and at your next gathering, have everyone take a turn at answering a question. You might be surprised at the answers!
- Do I want to live in a walk-able community, close to restaurants, entertainment, health care and services or can I count on accessible transportation if I am unable or don’t want to drive at some point?
- Am I happy in my own home, and am I willing to have help brought in, when and if I need it? Or would I rather live in a community where services are close by and sometimes included?
- Am I willing to use and can I pay for available services, like home grocery delivery, cleaning and handyman services that will make it easier to stay in my own home longer?
- Are there any modifications I can make that will make my house more user-friendly as I get older and should I think about having those upgrades done now?
- Where will my friends and family be living? It’s all about relationships and it’s important to stay in touch with people you enjoy – whether by car, train, plane or technology!
- Think about whether your family, friends or neighbors can play a role (paid and unpaid) in providing support if needed, whether a ride to medical appointments or the big spring clean-up in the garden.
These are just a few things to think about, but I urge you, do start thinking about them. By letting your family and friends know how and where you want to age, and learning about the resources available to help you, you can start planning for the future you envision for yourself.