While none of us want to think about a future where we may be incapacitated or need someone to assist us with our activities of daily living, it is a conversation we need to have as soon as possible. AARP shares the importance of planning out long-term care in advance as it says, “When it comes to your home, your health, and your finances, you want to be in the driver’s seat. That’s why it’s so important to plan now for retirement — and any future care you may need. Planning for long-term care is one of the smartest decisions you can make, and it’s a gift for your family too.” Did you know that, as elder law attorneys, we work with New York seniors and their families to navigate through the long term care challenges you and your family may face as you grow older?

You may have heard the phrase “long-term care” quite a bit but we find this term is confusing to most of our clients. Do you know exactly what New York long-term care really is? Let us help clear up any confusion!

Long-term care can be defined as “the day-to-day help needed by people with illnesses that last a long time (chronic illnesses), disabilities, or other conditions. Some people need long-term care for several months, while others need it for years or a lifetime.” Long-term care planning means we are planning ahead for a time when we may not be able to provide for and protect ourselves or our family members. This could happen for any reason, at any time, no matter what our age or our current health.

The truth is that long-term care needs vary by person. Some long-term care planning includes making your surroundings safer and getting home-maker assistance for help around your home such as cooking or cleaning. Other types of long-term care planning focus protecting on family members who can no longer live safely at home and need to relocate to assisted living or nursing home facility care. There are times when you can be directly involved in the type of care you want to receive, but there are others, such as in the event of incapacity or a sudden accident, where you will have to rely on others.

Since every situation is different, it is even more critical to make long-term care choices carefully and early with your New York elder law attorney. If you are a person who thinks, “I won’t be the one who needs long term care,” you may want to think again. Unfortunately AARP shares, “your odds of needing long-term care generally increase as you get older. More than two-thirds of people over age 65 … will require at least some type of long-term care during their remaining lifetime. On average, someone age 65 … will need some long-term care services for three years. The need for care varies widely. Roughly 30 percent of people age 65 and over never need care, while 20 percent need five years or more.”

Rather than be reactive, be proactive and plan early! Planning for long -term care will ensure that your choices are respected and put in place. Let us know what your questions are so we can discuss your options and help you complete your New York elder law planning!