Balancing Long-Term Care Needs for Couples

November 11, 2020

Creating a long-term care plan that involves moving into a new type of residence can be especially tricky for couples who have different needs. Prioritizing the needs and wants of each individual is necessary. This can be even more complicated if one or both are experiencing any type of cognitive decline.

For many couples, especially those who have been married for a very long time, the ability to live together will make or break their decision regarding whether to move to an assisted living facility. There are many types of accommodations suitable for couples.

The first step is to make sure that both spouses receive evaluations by a physician to determine whether independent living is still a viable option. This will be based significantly upon the amount and type of assistance needed with activities of daily living (ADLs). Typically, the spouse that needs the highest level of care dictates the type of senior living facility that can best accommodate the couple. These types of assessments should be conducted on both individuals every 6 months for consistent and constant reevaluation.

In most assisted living communities if a couple lives together they are only charged for one unit plus an additional fee for the second occupant. Any additional services that are needed will be an additional cost per person.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) have become increasingly popular because they offer many variations of living arrangements based on the type of care needed and individuals or couples can progress from independent living to more restrictive memory care units as needed.

Start by doing your research and get educated on all the options available in your area. Then discuss your options with appropriate family members and others who need to be included in the decision-making process. Finally, implement your decision by taking into account financial issues, access to medical care, and proximity to family and friends.

The financial issues of long-term care planning include looking at your assets and liabilities to determine how much money you can afford to allocate to long-term care. You also need to determine how much you want to cover through insurance. Consider various scenarios of progressing into more restrictive environments for one or both spouses in the future.

Developing and putting into place a long-term care plan will provide you with peace of mind. Contact the experienced Elder Law attorneys at Stouffer Legal in the Greater Baltimore area to get started with a consultation.

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