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Make a plan for your long-term health care needs

Everyone is going to age. As a result, it's necessary to take steps to plan for aging. Long-term care planning is the formal name for the legal process of planning for your care once you reach elder status. It is the plan you make that covers your need for a nursing home, in-home health care or other services.

One of the first questions to ask yourself is how much you need to save. The next step is finding out what kinds of services you may need.

Understanding long-term care

Long-term care planning is planning for help with things such as:

  • Bathing
  • Going to the bathroom
  • Preventing unsafe behaviors
  • Managing pain
  • Providing transportation
  • Getting help with shopping
  • Counseling
  • Answering the phone
  • Removing snow from your yard
  • Help with grooming
  • Help with making repairs

As you can see, it's not just planning for help with your daily washing or getting dressed. It's also planning for your needs around your house and to and from local stores.

Experts believe that up to 60 percent of people will need long-term care in their lifetimes. There is no way to guarantee how long that care will be needed. However, you can make a plan to take care of yourself during whatever length of time it takes. Medicare covers the cost of custodial care, for example, and your attorney can help you find ways to qualify without losing the assets you have in your possession. Planning for this early gets you the best return on your own investments and protects your beneficiaries' inheritances from having to be spent down.

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