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If you are thinking ahead to the possibility of long-term care, either for yourself or a loved one, you probably have a lot of questions. Unfortunately, the high cost of long-term care can devastate your finances if you are not prepared for it. Long-term care costs remain easily one of the greatest threats to both your retirement savings and your legacy.

There are ways we can help you protect yourself and your loved ones when it comes to long-term care. Together, we can create a plan that is right for you and your loved ones. There are federal and state programs, such as Medicaid, that are designed to help you afford these costs should you qualify. We have found, in our years of practice, that with the right strategy, you can access the care that you need without having to lose everything first.

To this end, you may have heard of IADLs and ADLs, but you may have questions. We find that navigating the long-term care maze and understanding the specifics of these terms can be hard. Let us share more specifics on these two specifically here in our blog. 

Let’s start with ADLs. You may have heard the term but wonder what an ADL is? “ADL” stands for activities of daily living. These are basic self-care tasks such as:

  • Dressing yourself, 
  • Personal hygiene and grooming, 
  • Toileting, 
  • Bathing, 
  • Continence, 
  • Getting from one place to another, which can include walking, or ambulating, and 
  • Transferring, which means shifting positions, say from a chair to the bed or being able to get into a wheelchair, stand up, grasp a cane, walker, or other assistive device.

By contrast, what is an IADL? IADL stands for instrumental activities of daily living. IADLs are a little more involved and are usually not considered when it comes to being qualified for a benefits program such as Medicaid . They include, but are not limited to, personal responsibilities such as:

  • Managing your own medications, 
  • Handling communications, 
  • Shopping, 
  • Finances, 
  • Housework, and
  • Meal preparation.

Geriatricians and healthcare professionals use ADLs and IADLs to assess an individual’s ability to live independently. These concerns often highlight areas where there is a physical or cognitive health issue. They are also used to determine how much hands-on care the person might require.

Knowing these terms is a start to understanding what you need from long-term care for yourself or for a senior you love. They can help you better navigate the aging process as well as help you to identify key questions to ask of health care professionals and your elder law attorney. If you are concerned about the cost of long-term care and would like to know more about how we can help, do not wait to reach out to us to schedule a meeting to speak with an attorney today.