• Worley Elder Law

Why Addressing Long-Term Care Needs as Soon as Possible is Critical

Updated: Nov 9


Were you aware that the type of healthcare people receive when their care needs extend beyond acute care or hospitalization is called long-term care? It is very important to address long-term care needs as soon as possible, before it is an emergency. Almost everyone is familiar with acute care which focuses on a traditional cycle of illness. For instance, if you have a sinus infection, you go to the doctor to receive a diagnosis and medical care, and in most situations, get better on your own. If you are in a hospital setting, after a serious injury, surgery or other medical event, you are hospitalized to receive treatment, a short round of therapies and then you are up and on your way as soon as possible.


However, what happens when you do not recover from an acute illness? Or you are unable to independently leave the hospital or rehabilitation facility? What happens when seniors or people of any age, receive a healthcare diagnosis that predicts there will come a time in the future when they will not have the mental capacity or physical ability to care for themselves? In all these scenarios, this is when long-term care may be needed.


Long-term care addresses the needs of people, often seniors, who lose their ability to independently perform their Independent Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) or Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). In the following paragraphs we will tell you more about both.


Independent Activities of Daily Living include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Cooking

  • Doing laundry

  • Cleaning the house

  • Paying bills or managing finances

Activities of Daily Living include, but are not limited to, the following actions people would need to be able to take for themselves:

  • Feeding

  • Dressing

  • Bathing

  • Walking

The above type of care is often referred to as custodial care and the costs for this type of long-term care, is something most insurance policies, including Medicare, do not pay for outside of a specific timeframe. Then it becomes a burden, both financially and emotionally, for the person in need of care and his or her loved ones. The cost of long-term care varies by state, region, and the type of care needed. You can learn more about the cost in our state by using this link to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey.


When you think about it, long-term care planning is similar to estate planning. In estate planning you plan for a time when you cannot make decisions for yourself and, ultimately, decide the legacy you want to leave. In long-term care planning you address similar challenges and rely heavily on your advance preparation. We highly recommend that you work with an experienced Florida elder law attorney, she can advise you on:

  • How to find the type of care you need,

  • The type of decision-maker you need in place to support you,

  • The estate planning documents your chosen decision maker needs,

  • Community and state programs such as Medicaid to help you afford the cost,

  • How to qualify for assistance programs since they are based on health, income, and asset eligibility standards.

It is critical that you address your long-term care needs as soon as possible. We know this topic may raise more questions that it answers and want to help you plan for the future, and the unexpected. Whether you are young and single or a married five-time great grandparent, your voice and wishes need to be known. Worley Elder Law, based in beautiful Bradenton, Florida, focuses on helping you understand your options in designing your Estate Plan or Elder Law needs. Whether it's preventative incapacity planning or establishing your legacy, we will take the time to explain every option and work with you to create a customized plan just as unique as you and your family are. Please do not hesitate to contact us to let us help you.