First, thank God we got Long Term Care insurance and the VA! We prepared for the last chapter of their lives which
gave us options. We are dealing with some dementia, vision loss and hearing problems. AND, just like most of those who make it to 90, they have at least one health problem that counts as a disability.
We struggled with nursing home options but came to the conclusion that “there is no place like home” for as long as it is safe to be there. The buzz phrase for this is “aging in place”. This is an option for my parents because they have willing family nearby to help. For those without willing or close family members, home care is just not an option. They use Long Term Care benefits from the time they loose 2 or more activities of daily living.
Remember, we have Long Term Care but my parents prefer staying at home over going into a nursing home. We pay close attention to make sure it is safe for them, but we see that balance is increasingly a challenge for both of them. My Step-Father still cooks and does not have problems remembering to turn off the stove. Fine so far…
The issue becomes how do they use Long Term Care when they choose not to go into a nursing home. This is where I became a much better agent for Long Term Care because I know why it is needed AND, as importantly, how to help use it. Please call me to discuss how I can help you in your situation.
Thankfully, technological innovations are helping people stay in their homes longer, and giving family members more peace of mind as they do. Also, it can help those who care for them. These tools should be good for health and budgets because they minimize or prevent expensive hospital stays and subsequent skilled nursing care.
Many tools that help people stay safely at home during the last stage of life already exist, and many new tools are just gaining hold. The foundation of our plan is the wearable personal response system – Life Alert (help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up). Two tablets with email and texting are two other foundational tools.
I am not a Facebook person, but my wife is. This is a great tool for keeping in touch and connected. Our son who lives out of town is a Skype user and that brings hours of joy too. These do take a degree of technical ability so if you or your spouse aren’t gifted that way, you will need to call the Geek Squad.
If you want to go that easy extra step, you can invest in smart home technology. This can give you the ability to keep an eye out for when they get out of bed, go to the toilet, have a meal or leave the house.
Some of the technology is expensive, which begs the question “who pays for it?”. So far, the answer is – the consumer not the insurance company. Long Term Care companies and Medicare are not currently designed to pay for technological items today that might prevent hospitalization later. Thankfully the cost of such consumer products is coming down. Amazon, Google, Apple and others offer a voice-controlled digital assistant that answers questions, places calls, controls other smart devices such as door locks, lights, thermostats and the television with voice commands.
So far they have not found a device to keep my step father out of his garden, but it gives him so much joy that we will rely on Life Alert if he needs help. Driving and getting help around the house are all items we have worked out a schedule. Where we can not help, Long Term Care services are available.
Long Term Care does not pay for grocery deliveries, handymen, Uber or Lyft because they are not required to be trained to handle medical emergencies. That is why we and the Home Health Aide perform these services. Between the Home Health Aide and us, we are on time for all medical appointments.
In conclusion, demand for technology that extends our time in our own castle will only increase. We will probably pay for most of it but that is a small cost to allow us to stay home longer. AND, costs are consistently decreasing. According to The Economist Magazine, “In the future doctors might prescribe preventive technology-based services … just as they prescribe preventive pills today.” Wouldn’t that be a great step forward!
If you have questions about Long Term Care Insurance or Health Insurance, please call me. I can help!