Life Care Planning Guide
Life care planning can be an important element of elder law or special needs planning. The goal of life care planning is to support elders or others facing physical or mental limitations and illness — and their families — in making difficult long term care and financial decisions.
What is Life Care Planning?Life Care Planning places special emphasis on ensuring that you or your loved one gets good care, whether that care is at home or outside the traditional home setting. This is the most important of all goals, for it goes to the very heart of your quality of life in your later years.
Your Life Care Plan is focused first on your good health, safety, and well-being.
As Life Care Planners, we help you make decisions relating to your long-term care and special needs. We are your resource of experienced, supportive, knowledgeable, and objective advisors. We help you find sources to pay for good long-term care. We work with you through the maze of choices and options to find the best -- or, often, the most comfortable -- solution to the asset protection problem created by the need to pay for quality long-term care.
Life care planning involves a team of caring professionals -- often including an attorney, a Care Coordinator such as an R.N. or social worker, and others -- who assist a family in creating and implementing a life care plan. The plan and professional support will have goals including:
o Initiating a safe conversation among family members about an elder's, or other loved one's, need for care planning;
o Establishing what current care is needed, and what future care will likely be needed;
o Creating a plan for funding long term care, including by locating and accessing available public resources, including Medicare and Medicaid;
o Educating on and accessing in-home nursing, nursing home, and other long-term care options in the area;
o Advocating for patients and clients with caregivers and institutions to assure good care and address any concerns;
o Assisting with bills and coordinating with insurance providers;
o Related estate planning or special needs planning to protect and allocate assets;
o Providing any needed legal services or documents, such as powers of attorney or the creation of adult
o Ensuring that family members' concerns and emotional needs are met during the difficult process of planning and caring for an aging or disabled loved one.
Life care planning answers questions for seniors and disabled adults like:
"How long will she be able to live in her own home?"
"How do we compassionately raise his increasing limitations with him?"
"How can we avoid overburdening a family caregiver?"
"How will we afford the best care possible, without unnecessarily diminishing family resources?"
Who Needs a Life Care Plan?Life care plans are often devised at a time of crisis or transition, when an illness is diagnosed or becomes worse, a loved one can no longer function independently, existing nursing arrangements have resulted in harm or neglect, or a family caregiver is injured or burned out. But it is also often a great relief for families to begin the life care planning process before a time of crisis for an elderly or disabled loved one.
Life care plans are often of great benefit to individuals who:
o Have Alzheimers or signs of dementia;
o Have been diagnosed with cancer or another serious disease;
o Are finding it difficult to care for themselves in their own homes;
o Have recently suffered a major injury, such as a fall or other accident;
o Experienced substandard care at a nursing home;
o Are adults with lifelong disabilities or special needs; and/or,
o Have aging or overworked family caregivers
The Results of Life Care PlanningThe results of Life Care Planning include:
o Better care for aging or disabled loved ones;
o Fewer worries, especially for out-of-state family members, that care will be left to chance or money
will run out;
o Protection of family finances;
o Less stress and disagreement among family members; and,
o Assurance that you are not alone in these difficult decisions.