National Care Planning Council (NCPC)
"We are the most comprehensive resource for Eldercare, Senior Services and Care Planning anywhere. We publish articles and books to help you learn how to meet the needs of seniors and the providers and services listed under "Senior Services" are here to help with any retirement or eldercare needs." - Thomas Day, Director
Find information on how to receive additional income from the VA to help you pay for home care, assisted living, or nursing care.
Find companies and individual providers on this site who can help your family with senior care and long term care planning.
Find books written by the NCPC to help you plan for and fund the finals years of life or learn how to obtain government benefits.
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August 25, 2014
1. Getting old is financially scary.
No matter how much money one may have, thinking about covering the expenses associated with aging or dealing with the unknown can be extremely scary. What if your elderly parent doesn't have enough insurance or savings to pay for long term care or a terminal illness such as cancer? Talking to a qualified professional to make sure any possible expenses are covered can be vital.
2. Talking about changes in life is extremely hard
Talking about moving (whether to downsize or to a find a care facility), losing the ability to drive, or having to budget can be hard subjects for an aging parent to face (actually having to plan for it can be even more overwhelming). Taking small steps with a goal in mind can be very helpful. Writing down every step needed and crossing them off as goals are met can make it easier to complete each step, even if it seems to make the list of tasks to complete even longer.
September 2, 2014
Thomas Day is the Director of the National Care Planning Council (NCPC). Many of you may not know that Tom suffers from an immune demylinating neuropathy -- called an anti-MAG neuropathy -- which makes it difficult for him to walk and affects the use of his hands. During a discussion, he and I talked briefly about his desires to be more mobile and efficient without requiring extra assistance from his family. For example, Tom cannot drive himself around. His hands shake and slight muscle weakness in his extremities slow his reflexes. In many cases, Tom is at the mercy of the family’s schedule to get around town.
This conversation prompted Tom to mention several helpful items that he uses each day to help him function at home and at work. Below are brief descriptions about these items as well as a few additional ideas Tom and others like him can use to maintain their independence and to help ease the burdens their families sometimes bear.
The following were created for professionals working in the eldercare industry.
Local Planning Councils
Build a team to promote and market your council services in your community.
Support for Those Who Help Veterans
Get accredited, stay accredited, and help veterans and their families apply for benefits from the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.
- VA Accreditation Study Material
- CLE Course to Maintain VA Accreditation
- Marketing Materials and Training
- Website and Listings
- Phone Coaching
- Claims Package
Life Resource Planning System
A fee based planning system to help your senior clients create a plan for their final years of life.
Guide to Long Term Care Planning
This section, called the Guide to Long Term Care Planning, contains books, articles, and free non-commercial resources which will help you with your long term care planning needs. Below are 34 in-depth chapters, totaling over 690 printable pages, covering all areas of long-term care planning, or as it's more commonly called, elder care planning.
National Care Planning Council Books
The National Care Planning Council is a leader in providing books on timely subjects for long term care planning. Below are five of our popular books.
"How to Deal with 21 Critical Issues Facing Aging Seniors"
"How to Apply for VA Benefits for Seniors"
"Aid & Attendance Handbook"
"The 4 Steps of Long Term Care Planning"
"Protect Assets from Nursing Home Costs"
"Support for Those Who Help Veterans"
Long Term Care Benefits for Veterans
Long term care benefits for veterans include services from VA Health Care, services from state veterans homes and disability income programs such as Compensation or the Aid and Attendance Pension benefit.
About Long Term Care
The need for long term care arises when an individual requires from someone else, assistance with medical care, daily activities, comfort, supervision or advice. Most long term care is provided by family members.
Links to LTC News and Interviews
These are links to online news sources and to online magazines that deal with long term care issues. We also provide a number of radio interviews dealing with long term care issues. These are interviews with experts in the field.
Caregiving involves two groups of people who provide long term care. Roughly 60% of all care is provided by family members who receive no pay for their time. These folks are usually called informal caregivers. The balance of care is provided by formal caregivers who are volunteers or paid professionals.
Need for Long Term Care Planning
Even though long term care can be the greatest crisis an elderly person can experience, there is an appalling lack of preparation among older Americans. Scarce government funds and changing demographics make the need for planning even more critical than ever.
About Long Term Care at Home
Roughly 70% of all long term care is provided in the home primarily by a spouse, a daughter or daughter-in-law. More family caregivers are in the workplace or live far away and are finding it difficult to care for loved ones at home. Help is available in a number of ways.
7 Steps of Long Term Care Planning
Planning for long term care is a process for two generations. As a general rule, the older generation completes seven logical steps in this process. For a generation preparing for retirement the seven planning steps occur in phases before and after retirement.
About Home Telehealth
Home Telehealth is a useful home care service for rural areas where distances are great and nurses and aides find it difficult to visit patients. The home Telehealth patient uses vital sign monitoring attached to a computer and consults with the home care personnel over the phone and using the computer to feed information.
Knowing Who to Contact for Help
Most family caregivers simply don't know where to turn for help and advice. This is the largest article on the site and covers 11 vital services that all families should consider using. Many of these services go unused, simply because of lack of knowledge. In most cases, these services could save time, money and caregiver stress.
About Adult Day Care
Adult day care services have been around for about 30 years but providers have found it difficult to stay in business and families seem reluctant to use the services. This is unfortunate because this service can help people stay in their homes longer by providing medical care and giving care givers a rest. Next year Medicare may start paying for these services as an alternative to home care and this will give this industry a shot in the arm.
Paying the Cost of Care
Having money to pay for long term care when the time comes is probably the most important part of the planning process. For a younger generation, long term care insurance makes the most sense. For the older generation that hasn't provided funds for care, there are other options that might be available. But they never work as well as the insurance. This article also examines the past and future effect of inflation on various care services.
Retirement & Care Communities
Many active seniors are selling their homes and using the equity to purchase a retirement living arrangement on the seashore, in the mountains, in the desert or in the South where it's warm. Some seniors find new living arrangements that offer various degrees of eldercare. This article examines the various retirement living arrangements for the elderly.
Long Term Care Insurance
This is the most in-depth and comprehensive treatment of long term care insurance available anywhere; either for sale or for free. For those of you who want all the details, including numerous charts, this is the article for you. Estimates are that costs for this insurance are going up about 12% a year for the same buying age. You should not delay buying.
About Assisted Living
Prior to assisted living, elderly people who could not remain in their homes for various reasons had to go to a nursing home for care. Assisted living is an alternative that provides a more homelike environment, a more stimulating atmosphere and is generally about 60% of the cost of a nursing home.
Wills, Trusts & Powers of Attorney
This article discusses estate planning strategies for the elderly. This is not legal advice and an attorney should be used to prepare these documents. Many elderly fail to provide these documents for their family and when the time for care comes, family are scrambling to try and straighten out the mess.
About Nursing Homes
For many care recipients long term care is an evolving process of losing more and more physical or mental capacity. A nursing home is usually the last stop in this process. The nursing home is equipped to handle medical problems, disability and in some cases behavior problems that cannot be handled by any other provider. Because there are now so many other options for care prior to a nursing home, the trend is that residents on average are much sicker and older than in the past.
Medicaid planning has gotten a bad name because a handful of practitioners have abused the system and taken unfair advantage of taxpayers. But Medicaid planning is really a useful strategy and is typically used to save what few assets are remaining for Medicaid spend down and to provide adequate income for the healthy spouse at home. Medicaid often robs the healthy spouse of a quality standard of living by not allowing enough needed assets and income.
About Hospice Care
Hospice care is a valuable service and generally under used except for terminal cancer patients. Hospice allows for compassion and dignity in the process of dying. Most families wait too long to have their doctor prescribe hospice from Medicare. It should be considered at an earlier stage.
Using Life Settlements
The life settlement and a related product called a viatical allow an investor to free up cash for an individual by investing in that person's death. The investor purchases the individual's life insurance policy for less than value and then recoups the investment plus interest with the death payout when the insured dies.
About Medicare & VA Long Term Care
Medicare provides limited coverage for home care and for nursing home rehabilitation from a three day hospital stay. If the patient is not recovering, Medicare eventually quits paying. Medicare also covers hospice care. The VA will also cover limited home care, assisted living and nursing home care under certain conditions. In addition many states have VA state nursing homes.
Using a Reverse Mortgage
After 15 years, reverse mortgages are finally starting to catch on. A reverse mortgage (Home Equity Conversion Mortgage) allows someone to tap the equity in his or her home and use it for anything. There are no income or credit requirements for this loan. It's the same as any other loan -- you own the title and the bank holds a lien. There is no requirement to make payments while you are alive and still living in the home.
About Medicaid Long Term Care
Medicaid provides nursing home coverage for elderly people over age 65 and for younger disabled people on SSI. Except for 13 states that test for income, in all other states, a person can receive Medicaid nursing home if assets are less than $2,000 and income is not sufficient to pay the full cost of care. Medicaid will make up the difference. Medicaid waivers are used to cover home care and assisted living services in all states. But in many states nursing homes are favored over these waiver programs.
Using a Care Manager
Elder or geriatric care managers are invaluable in helping family caregivers cope with the burden of caregiving. Everyone should use a care manager when the time for care comes. Unfortunately it's just the opposite. Family think they can do it themselves and rarely spend the money. Using a care manager is no different than using an attorney or a CPA. The family is confronting the maze of long term care services for the first time. The care manager has been there many times. A care manager will save time, money and stress.
About the National Aging Network
The national aging network was created by the Older Americans Act of 1965. It is administered by the Administration on Aging and by state aging departments. On a local level, services are offered through 655 area agencies on aging scattered all over the country. Its purpose is to provide a wide range of services to support Americans age 60 and over in the community and keep them out of nursing facilities. The aging network is the largest single provider of aging services in the country, utilizing 29,000 service providers and over 500,000 volunteers.
Supplements, Advantage Plans, Part D
This article goes into detail explaining how Medicare works and how Medicare supplements fit into the overall picture. A great deal of space is devoted to explaining the new Medicare Advantage plans and the new Medicare prescription drug, part D program. An effort is made to explain how they all fit together and the advantages of various coverages. We also provide step-by-step instructions on how to sign up for the new prescription drug plan. In addition we have an extremely popular list for Internet visitors linking to all 311 care providers for coverage.
Depression in Elderly Care Recipients
A scholarly article on recognizing depression in those receiving care and recognizing that treating that depression could result in a better quality of life for the care recipient. Dealing with depression may also relieve the stress on caregivers.
The Caregiver's Handbook
About Medical Care for the Elderly
There is a crisis in the health care treatment that elderly Americans receive in this country. Few doctors have training in providing health care to the elderly. As a result many seniors are over-medicated and under-treated and their quality of life may be severely affected. With proper treatment many of the afflictions of the elderly could be substantially reduced. Families should seek medical treatment through geriatric clinics or from geriatricians.
Elder and Family Mediation Services
A large number of families put up with family disagreements and family disputes and long lasting bitterness over the care of loved ones. Many people don't realize that a simple process called mediation could put their family back together again. Elder or family mediators bring disputing parties together and through mutual agreement and a written document help them to resolve their issues. This is an extremely valuable service.
About Elder Abuse
Elder abuse is the "dirty little secret" of caregiving. Estimates are that only about 10% of all abuse is ever reported. And it's possible that 10% of elderly and disabled Americans suffer abuse at the hands of caregivers or family members. The most frequent abuse is not in nursing homes but in the homes of the persons receiving care. This could be neglect, physical abuse, verbal abuse or financial abuse where children are stealing assets.
Professional Home Care Services
Although most home care is provided by family, friends or volunteers, there is a growing trend to hire paid individuals or professionals to provide this care in the home. Traditional caregivers can't provide care because of full-time employment or parents live a long distance away. This article discusses the use of traditional home health agencies, live-in care providers and personal or non-medical home care companies.
Technology & Remote Monitoring
This article discusses assistive technology, which is the use of devices to help with disability. Some of this equipment, labeled as durable medical equipment by Medicare, will be covered by Medicare. Such things as bed lifts, wheelchairs and scooters as an example. Also a variety of disability aids and help are discussed. Another area of interest is remote monitoring of loved ones at home and the use of alarm or medical alert devices.
Community Aging Services
There are many private, religious and government organizations across the country that provide supportive services for older people. Many of these services center around helping people stay in their homes and avoid having to go to live in an institution or perhaps move in with family. Other community services may provide socialization or training opportunities. Probably the best way to find these services is by dialing 211.
For those of you who prefer to find your own source material, we have included reference material that we particularly like; sources we feel are rich in facts and figures. So far we have included 102 of these references. If you have a source that you particularly like, please let us know and we will include it on our listing.
This is a lengthy article that examines dying, final directives, grief and bereavement, palliative care, pain management, funeral arrangements, funeral services, funeral preplanning and pre-need planning. This last service has become quite popular in recent years where people prepay and preplan the entire final arrangements.