For the first time in human history, we have a greater percentage of the global population over age 65 than under the age of 5. While life expectancy based on medical history has thus far been a primary factor in determining potential for longevity, as we move away from traditional institutional care into community/ home-based care, there will be more emphasis on the Five Pillars of Longevity, as they relate to long term care.
Increasing longevity and improving the quality of life and peace of mind are the goals of the Five Pillars of Longevity, consisting of Legal, Housing, Financial, Coordination of care and Home care. By planning for future care needs now, seniors will save money, time and the potential embarrassment of a court-appointed conservatorship or the need to rely on family members or charitable organizations for assistance.
Legal considerations usually include advance medical directives such as:
- (Durable) Power of Attorney (POA) – The designation of a spouse, adult child or family member to act as agent on behalf of the designator in financial matters. A healthcare POA permits a designee to make medical decisions if the grantor is unable to do so.
- Living Trust – while a revocable trust becomes irrevocable upon the incapacity of the maker, a living trust can be tailored to suit the individual’s changing needs.
- Living Will – This deals with end-of-life situations, and may include a “do not resuscitate” (DNR) order or to withhold cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or other advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) if breathing or heartbeat stops, allowing the person to die naturally.
According to a recent longevity report, many able-bodied seniors are opting to stay put (“age in place”) near family members, friends and religious or social organizations, rather than sell and move out of state or into a senior living center. For those who do choose to downsize, there are plenty of options to relocate or not.
For those unable to remain at home and depending on the individual’s and family’s needs, long term care may be provided in independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and intensive nursing care.
In home care is one option to provide a high level of team-based care. For example, utilizing technology allows for a broader range of options, with everyone in the network from clinicians to family members receiving updates and changes in the care plan. The best options for mom and dad can be anything from an in home aide to home modifications and medical equipment such as a chairlift. Additionally, using a reverse mortgage to help pay for these modifications can help subsidize costs.
Many in the Boomer generation may have income from investments. In addition, they may have long-term care insurance policies in anticipation of increased longevity life expectancy. While wealthier seniors may be able to afford all or most of their retirement living expenses, those with more modest means will need to plan sooner and more carefully.
Longevity insurance providers can offer separate long-term care policies, which are often the preferred way to pay for at least some of the above expenses. Other methods can include investments, savings, Medicaid and when applicable, veterans’ benefits from the VA.
Care coordination reflects a shift from institutional care to a more personalized model, thanks to telehealth and other technologies. As a result, clinicians coordinate care plans and stay in touch with patients and family caregivers. Utilizing services such as a care manager or psychotherapy helps keep seniors on a path of wellness and longevity.
When searching for longevity solutions, ask questions addressing the legal, housing, financial and anticipated care needs:
- Do I need to have a long-term care insurance policy?
- Should I have a Living Trust?
- Have I made living arrangements in the event I’m incapacitated?
- Have I designated a Durable Power of Attorney?
- Are Advance Medical Directives in place?
Our experienced advisors at Long Term Living Association (LTLA) are ready to help with offering additional longevity solutions. Contact them at 800-868-1193 or online using our convenient appointment scheduling system.
MICHAEL B. FITZPATRICK
Reverse Mortgage Specialist
Certified Senior Relocation and Transition Specialist (CRTS)
Geriatric Care Manager
LORIE GARDNER, RN BSN