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3 long-term care planning mistakes you should avoid

As we get older, the level of health and personal care we may need can change.

Planning for potential changes through legal and financial planning can be crucial, so it is wise to avoid the following common mistakes. 

Mistake #1: Assuming you won't need care

No one wants to imagine their future if they get sick or cannot take care of themselves. However, it can and does happen to millions of Americans.

And as this National Institute on Aging article explains, the need for long-term care increases for people who are:

  • Older
  • Female
  • Single

It can also be more likely for people who have poor exercise or eating habits, as well as people who have a family history of certain serious conditions.

By not considering your wishes for long-term care, especially if you are a higher risk of needing care, you could be doing yourself and your loved ones a great disservice.

Mistake #2: Not exploring the long-term care options

Many people enter a nursing home when they require long-term care. However, it is not the only option available.

For instance, a person might be able to receive in-home care and other services, including:

  • Meal delivery services
  • Adult daycare
  • Transportation services
  • Personal care assistance
  • Companion services
  • Health and emergency response systems

These types of services can be provided in a person's home or the home of a loved one. 

There are also communities and facilities dedicated to people with specific conditions, like dementia or Alzheimer's.

Thinking about your care in terms of where you want to receive care and what type of services you may need can be essential in planning. Your wishes dictate everything from how much money you need to save to who may be taking care of you.

Mistake #3: Failing to put your plans in writing

No matter how sure you are of what you want or don't want as your care needs increase, issues can arise if you do not put your wishes in writing. Therefore, consider care planning services such as:

  • Updating a will
  • Establishing a trust
  • Transferring property
  • Assigning powers of attorney and fiduciaries 

You can also talk to your family about your wishes so that they understand what you want - or do not want.

Avoiding these three mistakes can allow people to craft effective safety nets.

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