Life care planning is a process of developing a comprehensive plan for the long-term care and support of an individual with a chronic illness or disability. It involves identifying the individual’s current and future needs. Then it involves determining the best way to meet those needs, and implementing a plan to ensure that those needs are met.
The goal of life care planning is to provide individuals with the best possible quality of life, given their condition and circumstances. It is a proactive approach that focuses on addressing an individual’s needs in the present, while also considering the potential changes that may occur in the future.
Elder Law Implications
As elder law attorneys, we assist clients that are preparing for the eventualities of aging. The most significant issue that we must address is the matter of long-term care.
Seven out of 10 senior citizens will need help with their activities of daily living at some point. With this reality in mind, life care planning can be quite relevant to seniors and their families. You can start to explore the different ways that you can respond to challenges that you may face as time goes on.
What Is a Life Care Plan?
Life care planning is typically led by a team of professionals, including health care providers, financial advisors, and of course, legal professionals. This team works together to assess the individual’s needs, identify the most appropriate services and resources to meet those needs, and develop a customized plan to support the individual over the long term.
There are several key components of a life care plan. The first is a comprehensive assessment of the individual’s needs. This includes a review of their medical and functional status, as well as their social and financial situation. The assessment may also include input from the individual and their family members, as well as any other relevant stakeholders.
Based on the assessment, the life care planning team will identify the services and resources that will meet the individual’s needs. This may include medical and nursing care, rehabilitation services, home modification, assistive technology, and other types of support. The team will also consider the cost of these services. Then the team will work to identify any financial resources or benefits that may be available to help cover these costs.
Medicaid and the Home and Community-Based Services Waiver
Let’s look at the question of financial resources and benefits. Seniors that need help with their day-to-day needs require custodial care. Medicare does not cover this cost, and in-home caregivers are very expensive. Of course, a stay in a nursing home is even more costly. It is difficult to address these costs out of your own pocket late in your life.
Medicaid will pay for custodial care if you can gain eligibility. There is also a Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waiver program, that covers in-home care provided by professional health aides.
Because these are need-based programs, there is a $2,000 asset limit. To prepare yourself in advance, you could convey resources into an irrevocable Medicaid trust. You could accept distributions of the income, but you would not have access to the principal.
Because you surrendered incidents of ownership with regard to the principal, the assets would not count if you apply for Medicaid. Advance planning is key, because the trust must be funded at least five years before you apply for coverage.
Life Care Planning: Putting It All Together
One of the key benefits of life care planning is that it helps individuals and their families to be better prepared for the future. It allows them to identify potential challenges and develop strategies to address them, rather than reacting to problems as they arise. It also helps to ensure that the individual’s needs are met in a way that is consistent with their wishes and values.
Life care planning can also be beneficial for health care providers. It can help to ensure that individuals receive the most appropriate care and support. This can help to avoid unnecessary or duplicative services. It can also help to reduce the burden on the health care system. Life care planning can identify and address the individual’s needs in a proactive and comprehensive manner.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
If you would like to work with an Oklahoma City elder law attorney to develop a plan for aging, our doors are open. You can reach us by phone at 405-843-6100, and you can use our contact form to send us a message.
If you are in the Tulsa area, you can call us at 918-615-2700 to schedule a consultation at our office.