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With your Florida estate plan in place, have you given any thought to or has your Florida estate planning and elder law attorney suggested long-term care planning? Long-term care planning is most effective when addressed early, before it is needed. Long-term care is the type of healthcare people receive when their care needs extend beyond acute care or hospitalization. Most people are familiar with acute care which focuses on the traditional cycle of illness. People get sick, go to the doctor, receive a diagnosis and therapies, and in most situations, get better on their own. Or people are hospitalized after a serious injury, surgery or other medical event, receive treatment, a short round of therapies and then they are up and on their way as soon as possible.

However, what happens when people do not recover from an acute illness? What happens when people are unable to independently leave the hospital or rehabilitation facility? What happens when people receive a healthcare diagnosis that predicts there will come a time in the future when they will not have the mental capacity or physical ability to care for themselves? For all three of the above scenarios, this is when long-term care may be needed. Again, long-term care should be addressed early before it is needed.

Long-term care addresses the needs of people, often seniors, who lose their ability to independently perform their Independent Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) or Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). We can give you a better explanation below about both IADLs and ADLs.

Independent Activities of Daily Living include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Cooking
  • Doing laundry
  • Cleaning the house
  • Paying bills or managing finances

Activities of Daily Living include, but are not limited to, the following actions people would need to be able to take for themselves:

  • Feeding 
  • Dressing
  • Bathing
  • Walking

You need to be aware that the costs for this type of long-term care, often referred to as custodial care, is something most insurance policies, including Medicare, do not pay for outside of a specific timeframe. It can, therefore, become the burden, both financially and emotionally, for the person in need of care and his or her loved ones. You also need to know that the cost of long-term care varies by state, region, and the type of care needed. You can learn more about the cost in our state by using this link to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey.

Because you have created your estate plan, you will learn that similar to estate planning, in which you plan for a time when you cannot make decisions for yourself and, ultimately, decide the legacy you want to leave, long-term care planning addresses similar challenges and relies heavily on your advance preparation. When you work with an experienced Florida estate planning and elder law attorney, your attorney can advise you on:

  • How to find the type of care you need,
  • The type of decision-maker you need in place to support you,
  • The estate planning documents your chosen decision maker needs,
  • Community and state programs such as Medicaid to help you afford the cost,
  • How to qualify for assistance programs since they are based on health, income, and asset eligibility standards.

The sooner you can address your long-term care needs, the better. We know this article raises more questions than answers. At Britton G. Swank, P.A., our mission is to guide you in the right direction to help you provide for yourself and your loved ones no matter what the future holds. We want to help you control the assets you have, leave them to people and causes you care about, when you want, in the way you want. We can help you take care of yourself and those you love in the event of disability due to illness, injury or old age. No matter what risks unfold, we can help give you the comfort of knowing you are prepared. We want you to feel good about your future and the future of your loved ones.  We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting.