According to the U.S Department of Health Service's Administration on Aging, there has been an increase of 39 percent in the number of people who will turn 65 in the next two decades. The vast majority of these individuals are in better health and living a more active life than the generations preceding them and there is a real desire to live a full and independent lifestyle.
To help individuals retain that independence for as long as possible, the Home Health Care Industry has continued to grow also.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment in Home Health Care will increase by more than 55 percent from 2006 to 2016. Home Health Care providers can offer Medical and/or Non-Medical assistance.
Marvin Stallworth is President of Home Helpers in Rock Hill. Home Helpers provides Non-Medical assistance to individuals at home. Non-Medical services include: dressing, bathing, eating, transportation, light house duties, companionship and many similar services.
I asked Marvin to provide some advice on selecting a service provider.
Marvin identified five key points which include: "How are caregivers matched with clients?; "Does the company offer a customized plan to meet the needs of the client?" "Does the company offer 24/7 care?"; "Do supervisors closely monitor the caregiver/client relationship with ongoing assessments and recommendations as needs change over time?" and, "Is there a written agreement that clearly defines the responsibilities of all parties?"
Melissa Allman is the Associate Director for Bayada Nurse's Charlotte Skilled Office which provides Medical Services in the home through private duty nurses. Medical Services must be provided by a medically licensed individual and can include administering medication, and monitoring medical conditions, to wound care, tracheotomy, ventilator care, IVs, g-tube feeds, etc.
Melissa believes that, "there is a general lack of knowledge in the community about what Medicare and individual insurance will cover. Medicare does not cover long term nursing services in the home and most health insurance policies have clauses which often prevent you from receiving necessary nursing services in the home, or they have a "cap" on how much you can receive."
Medicaid will provide for some home health care services but there are eligibility requirements. One of those requirements limits the amount of income allowed for an individual or family. According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services 2007 Annual report, for the care of the aged, blind or disabled, a family's income must not exceed the federal poverty level of $13,800.
The cost of home health care services can be quite high depending upon the severity of the impairment and/or the length of time we require assistance. If we are fortunate enough to live a long life and we wish to remain at home and independent for as long as possible, it would be prudent to consider the financial implications. Retirement Income Planning is not just about investments but should also include a discussion about risk management tools like Long Term Care Insurance and asset protection.
I encourage you to discuss this important aspect of planning with your financial advisor in your next quarterly meeting.