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Should Your New Year’s Resolutions Include Eldercare Planning?

Most seniors are aware of their need for estate planning, including a will, durable power of attorney, and living will. These documents enable planning in case of death or incapacity.

But few seniors think about another vital planning need. What if instead of going to the funeral home, you first go to the nursing home? What if you need home care or assisted living? The cost for elder care is large and growing. A senior who loses his assets to pay for long-term care will have little or nothing to leave for beneficiaries in a will or trust. And even more worrisome, the senior can go broke while still living, becoming a financial burden on the family.

Almost all seniors say “I never want to become a burden on my family.” But few develop a plan for covering costs of elder care so that they will not become a burden. While living in the home, the senior one can pursue cna courses online for testing their skills. They will find a work for their leisure time and improve their skills.

Should your New Year’s resolutions include elder care planning?

If you or your family member ever need home care, assisted living or nursing home, what is your plan to pay the cost of $2,000 to $10,000 a month for life? That is a huge cost if you do not have it covered and a huge benefit if you do have it covered.

Without an elder care plan, you risk losing your life savings and home during the last years of life. With a proper plan, you can cover elder care costs while preserving assets. Without a plan, you risk becoming a burden on your family. With a proper plan, you can guarantee that you will never become a financial burden on your family.

The family with a plan to cover long-term care costs and protect assets is MILES ahead of the majority with no plan.

Options to cover the costs of elder care include: Long-term care insurance, Medicaid eligibility, veterans aid and attendance, reverse mortgage structured planning, and new hybrid programs that turn your savings into both savings and long-term care coverage. The devil is always in the details. Any of these options could be planned correctly, covering the senior for life and protecting assets. And any of the options could be done wrongly, allowing the senior to outlive the coverage, go broke and become a burden.

One decision you must make early in the planning process is: Should you do your own planning, or should you retain a professional in this field to work with you? Professionals who coordinate elder care planning include: Long-term care insurance specialists, elder law attorneys, accredited veterans attorneys and geriatric care managers. Using a professional may cost you fees or commissions. But not using a professional and doing the planning incorrectly may cost your life savings and result in your becoming a burden on your family.

The do-it-yourself planner can consider the assistance of a guide book. I just happened to have written one. Don’t Let the Government take Grandma’s Home and Life Savings ( Lulu.com 2010) is available at ZeiglerElderCare.com

The planner who decides to retain a professional could locate one online at the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys at naela.org . Other sources include the Yellow Pages under elder law attorneys or your local bar association’s referral service asking for an elder law attorney or accredited veterans attorney.

Zeigler ElderCare Answers: Do your elder care planning this January as a tough but valuable New Year’s resolution. Consider using an elder law attorney or other professional rather than making this a do-it-yourself project.

On-going tip: Start a folder or notebook “Zeigler ElderCare Answers.” Save this page each week and keep it, including the ads of any senior services on the page. When your family member or friend has an elder care need later, you will have a handy reference guide of elder care answers.