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Long-Term Care Planning: 5 First Steps

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Acknowledging that an aging loved one needs additional support, either physically or with simple tasks of daily living, is a significant step for a family. However, it is the next step that can be the most challenging: What do I do now?

Here are five suggestions that can help your family on the road to long-term care planning.

1. Understand your options.
When it comes to a long-term care plan, there are some basic options with which you should be familiar. This video series on housing options for seniors explains the levels of care available and can help start a conversation with your family on short- and long-term care options.

2. Take advantage of free online resources.
The Internet is full of information on senior care and aging, but sorting through the dense web of resources can be overwhelming. These free, downloadable resources from the book Stages of Senior Care are a good place to start. They cover topics such as senior choices, aging in place, family care and more. Below the downloadable resources available through the link above, you will also find links to multiple senior support organizations that may prove helpful in your research.

3. Explore local resources.
There is nothing quite as comforting in a difficult situation as speaking face-to-face with someone who truly understands. Seek out senior support organizations or caregiver groups in your area, and find out what programs they offer. You may consider scheduling a free consultation with a local Home Instead® professional. They will listen carefully to your questions and provide helpful information tailored to your unique needs.

4. Take a financial inventory.
Perhaps one of the most important first steps in long-term care planning is to assess your family’s financial needs and resources. Long-term care can be quite expensive, but there are options and resources available to help you determine the best course of action for your family’s unique needs. This article by care expert David Troxel provides a helpful overview of the financial considerations of long-term care planning for both Alzheimer’s care and other senior care patients.

5. Get Advice from Others.
You’re not the first person to have aging loved ones, and you won’t be the last. Ask your friends what they’re doing to plan, or start a discussion with caregivers on Facebook who belong to the Caregiver Stress Relief community or the Remember for Alzheimer’s community.

You may also consider enlisting the advice of care professionals. If you would like to learn how home care services can be part of your long-term care plan, and the costs involved, schedule a free consultation with your local Home Instead office.

Last revised: January 6, 2014

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. March 18, 2015 at 4:39 pm | Posted by Esther Oakley

    Understanding your options is a very important aspect of finding a home care service. You don't want to get stuck with only looking at one company. By shopping around you will get a better look at all the companies around and different prices.


  2. December 4, 2014 at 3:54 pm | Posted by bonobos marcos

    My parents will either need to go into an assisted living home soon or receive home care. We have been saving up for this for a while so we don't experience any financial strain. The choice will be up to them as to which one they would rather.


  3. July 30, 2014 at 8:38 pm | Posted by Marie Ljuden

    My husband has been ill for 4 1/2 years after suffering a subarachnoid hemorhage. He was in the hospital and at home until a year ago when he was moved to an Extended Care Home. Although I know I wasn't able to care for him at home, I feel guilty if I don't visit him daily. Sometimes I know that he knows me but other times I'm not sure. Not having him at home has not helped me emotionally. Whenever I talk about him, I cry and when I;m alone he's always on my mind and I cry. Is there anyone else who has a similar problem? The doctor says that's just the way I am. If that's true, I don't want to be me.


    • September 2, 2014 at 12:27 am | Posted by Maureen Martin

      Hi Marie, I understand how you feel completely. My husband of 40 yrs was diagnosed with Parkinson's 2years ago. It progressed very quickly. He can not walk or take care of himself, he is also experiencing dementia. He went into extended care 2 months ago. I can't believe the guilt I am experiencing. I spend hours at night crying myself to sleep. We are only in our 60's and had a wonderful marriage. Our 4 kids use to joke that you never knew where mom & dad had taken off to. How could this happen to such a wonderful man? How do we as wives not feel extreme guilt to see them just laying there. I used to go every day but I have tapered off to every other day. Can I ever go on an extended vacation to visit one of our children or a friend? I feel so selfish because I am not suffering too and could even consider having a good time without him. No Marie, we could never have imagined this situation but it does help to know others are experiencing the same emotions. Good luck my friend, I am with you in spirit.


  4. January 20, 2014 at 9:20 pm | Posted by Reva

    I am an aging parent and I can make the decision as to where I want to go when I get disable.


  5. January 20, 2014 at 9:06 pm | Posted by Reva

    Iwas reading your coment on my computer , some elderly parents can make theire own decisions!


  6. January 18, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Posted by Carlotta Katra

    You should also look at all available benefits including veterans/widows pensions. Contact an Accredited Agent or an elder law attorney. Senior Care Advisors assists Lisa Dillman, an Indianapolis elder law attorney, by creating a Long Term Care Plan that looks a cost impact, benefits and protecting assets from nursing home care.


  7. January 17, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Posted by Pat Valente

    Even you may love your parents very much, you cannot forever be the Messiah to save them. The state/government must then take over, and you pray for them to receive quality care. You as the child need to take care of yourself, first.


  8. January 16, 2014 at 10:39 am | Posted by Joy Ellis

    I would like to receive the newsletters. My parents are the Sturdivants in Ridgeland.


  9. January 16, 2014 at 7:20 am | Posted by Linda Byce

    You can see our family's story at & my blog at My mission is to bring Awareness and Help to those who, like our family, find themselves "LIVING UNDER HOUSE ARREST". I'll be on the Your Carolina Show (channel 7) and Nite Line (channel 16) in Greenville, SC March 5th talking about this very thing. Thank You, Linda Byce


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