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Long-term care planning and management in the age of COVID-19

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2020 | Estate Planning

Envisioning and preparing for long-term care in later years is a matter of vital concern for many older adults and their family members, such as spouses and adult children. Under the best circumstances, families may start these discussions early. Ensuring that resources keep pace with anticipated needs is, of course, a prime concern.

Positioning oneself for a smooth transition from an active life to a lifestyle including care is also a journey for many older adults and their closest relatives. Families often assume they have plenty of time to weigh the options before decisions become imminent

Areas requiring careful decision making even during “normal times”

Typical intentions and actions of families engaged in long-term care planning conversations include:

  • Creating trusts and then ensuring that key assets are titled to those trusts
  • Thinking through and devising advance care directives that truly reflect one’s values
  • Protecting one’s home from seizure to pay for long-term care if Medicaid eventually becomes essential
  • Selecting a quality long-term care facility for future residency, such as an assisted living facility, a continuous care community or a nursing home
  • Selecting a home health aide staffing provider to allow an elder to stay at home longer, even with care needs

These aspects of long-term care planning are familiar to anyone who has gone through the process with a family member or advised elders and their families facing these important issues.

When COVID-10 outbreaks in long-term care facilities crash in on ordinary plans

Sometimes the long-term care planning processes are accelerated, and emergency arrangements suddenly become necessary. This may occur when an older family member is temporarily or permanently incapacitated because of a stroke, a fall injury or another injury or illness with sudden onset. In such cases, there is no time to waste. Crisis management overtakes planning.

In today’s world, there is an extra layer of complications for many older adults in care facilities having to do with COVID-19 and risk management. Long-term care arrangements may need to change in a hurry after a planned-on care facility is the site of a major virus outbreak. Ominous news reports spell out the hazards of COVID-19 infections in many long-term care facilities housing people of all income levels. If an elderly family member has already been infected in a nursing home, an abuse and neglect claim may be worthwhile to investigate.