According to analysts, different types of long-term care may be able to help retirees retain control over their lives for longer than they might in other situations. Although many care arrangements start with individuals simply receiving help from family members and end with them living in assisted living centers, nursing homes or hospices, each person's situation and capabilities impact which options best suit their needs.
As one analyst points out, it's important to differentiate whether an individual requires custodial care or skilled care, which is usually administered as part of a temporary arrangement to assist individuals who have non-fatal medical issues. Custodial, or non-specialized, care is reserved for individuals whose medical ailments aren't projected to improve and who may thus require permanent assistance with day to day affairs.
One important difference between skilled and custodial care is that Medicare and health insurance only cover skilled care. They won't subsidize things like residing at assisted living facilities, which may mandate that their residents pay a range of different fees and enter into formal contracts in exchange for the meals, services, medical care, individual living spaces and assistance they'll be given. It's worth remembering, however, that living in continuing care retirement communities and assisted living facilities may provide residents with a greater degree of independence.
Securing appropriate long-term care for a loved one can be a difficult task. Families want to protect their elderly relatives and ensure they enjoy the best lives possible, yet they may be constrained by their finances, geography and other factors. Those whose relatives may soon require care or assisted living arrangements should consider speaking with an attorney about the elder care planning alternatives that may be available.