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Long-term health care planning provides peace of mind for family

Nearly 70 percent of Americans age 65 and older expect to require at least some form of long-term care. However, many people, including some here in Massachusetts, fail to prepare for it. Long-term health care planning can provide peace of mind for both the individual and his or her family.

It may be difficult to have such a discussion with family members, but it is a necessary one. Leaving all of the decision-making to family members could result in an individual's expectations regarding long-term care not being met. Numerous options exist for all levels of care needs, but without the financial ability to pay for those options, the desired care may not be attainable.

Financing and housing are not the only issues to consider. Every aspect of life requires thought. Social setting, medical needs and assistance with day-to-day living are important. The goal is not just to exist, but to continue to have a fulfilling life to the extent possible, based on a person's medical condition.

Plans may also take into consideration the obstacles and responsibilities of family members when the time comes. Without a plan, family members could be left at odds regarding how to handle situations as they arise. With guidance from the individual needing the care, these issues can be dealt with appropriately.

Conducting long-term health care planning before it is needed provides both the individual and the family with the ability to answer important questions before the need arises. The less time wasted with unnecessary confrontations and fumbling through preparations, the better. No one in Massachusetts wants to think about needing such care, but as our population ages, it becomes inevitable for a growing number of people. Making the effort to discuss these issues now can make all the difference later.

Source: napervillesun.suntimes.com, Senior Living: Make plan for long-term care, Karen Courney, Jan. 5, 2014

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