Long-Term Care Insurance and the Activities of Daily Living for Seniors

I can’t say this enough… long-term care insurance should be considered not only for its ability to pay for care services, but more so to protect and preserve assets. Couples bought life insurance when they were young to provide a valuable estate in the unlikely, but possible tragedy in the event of the loss of a young parent-spouse-provider. In the last third of our lives, couples should purchase some style of long-term care insurance product in the highly likely event that at least one of the two of them will spend more than a year in a long-term care facility before they die.

Long-term care insurance should be considered...to protect and preserve assets.

Long-term care insurance protects assets, provides in-home care,  avoids dependency on others and retains the insured person’s freedom of choice. It is something that every senior needs to consider in the overall estate and asset protection plan. 

Even though an individual may have a long-term care insurance policy, there are certain requirements that must be met in order to trigger the benefits from a plan.  Most long-term care insurance policies will require that the policy holder either:

  • Needs continual assistance with a certain number of activities of daily living (ADL), or
  • Needs continual supervision due to a cognitive impairment

Activities of daily living (ADLs) include dressing, toileting, continence, transferring, bathing and feeding. “Cognitive impairment” is defined as the deterioration or loss of intellectual capacity that is evidenced by memory loss, disorientation and/or the ability to reason. It is often caused by Alzheimer’s disease or irreversible dementia, when someone is unsafe in a normal environment; he/she is in need of full time assistance in a protected environment.

Long-term care insurance can mean the difference between either choosing the type of care that your loved one desires and deserves, or being forced to spend down assets in order to qualify for Nursing Home Medicaid. Governmental policy makers at both the state and federal level have demonstrated that they are targeting Nursing Home Medicaid benefits as Public Budget Enemy Number One. All seniors with sufficient assets should be warned that Medicaid will not pay for them to live in the long-term care facility of their choice nor even their community. The future for Medicaid based nursing home care is quite frightening. Insurance professionals owe it to their clients to demonstrate the value that there is long-term care options which will allow clients to live at home longer and to enjoy higher quality nursing home care than will be provided by the state.

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