There’s a certain beauty in life’s unpredictability. Not knowing what will happen adds a little mystery to every person’s journey, which makes it intriguing and exciting. However, it can also be unsettling. Anything can happen without your knowledge. It’s not like life informs us ahead before giving us a lemon.
Health-related issues can pop out anytime, especially for those of us who are aging.
Seniors are more prone to illnesses, disabilities, and injuries because of matter of deteriorating health. This might not be a comfortable topic for everyone but facing reality is better than ignoring the truth and facing the consequences later. So, consider preparing ahead for a long-term health care plan before retirement day comes.
This will serve as your helpful guide on how to start.
Why is long-term health care planning important?
Four words: medical care is expensive. Unless you are wealthy, it will cost you a fortune to spend on medications alone. Just imagine how much more expenses there will be for laboratory tests, check-ups, treatment, nursing care, etc.
Planning for long-term health care will allow you to be financially ready for the costs. It also guarantees security because if ever you get sick or become disabled—knock on wood, —you and your family members will have nothing to worry about. This is for the sake of your health and happiness. Retirement is supposed to be the chapter in your life where you are just relaxing and enjoying the fruits of your labor. No aging adult would like to spend their retirement years worrying about their medical expenses.
Tips on how to prepare for a long-term health care plan
Although planning can be overwhelming, it will be of great help to you in the future. You will feel secure knowing that even if you get sick or require care from others, there will be nothing to worry about. This is even a more crucial case for seniors who cannot rely on their children to look after them since they have jobs and families of their own.
If you don’t know how to begin, we’ve listed below some important points to help you out:
1. Think about your future care needs.
Carefully think about what type of care you will possibly need in the future. One good way to do this is by evaluating your family history. If any of your relatives suffered from a chronic illness or cognitive impairments, there’s a chance that you will experience the same thing as you grow old. For instance, if some of your relatives have suffered from any form of dementia (such as Alzheimer’s), memory care should be a part of your plan.
Also, if you know that you do not live healthily or are sickly, consider the possibility that you will be needing professional nursing care when the time comes. Nursing care provides you with a caregiver who will assist you in basic self-care tasks, manage and administer your medication, and many more. This guarantees that you will not be helpless once you experience any sickness or disability.
Just to be clear, this is not to make you feel worried or anxious. This is about being logical for the sake of your quality of life. Thinking ahead will get you ahead.
2. Assess the available senior care options.
Fortunately, the government of Singapore and various private care providers are stepping up in providing measures for the better living of the senior community. With that said, there are plenty of care options for the elderly. Assess each one carefully and determine which one you might be in need of after retirement.
Here are the common senior care options:
- Nursing Home: This caters to seniors with a higher level of care needs including those who are terminally ill or suffering from disabilities. This facility has a clinical setting and rooms where the elderly can stay as they receive long-term care and assistance.
- Assisted Living: This is a nursing home alternative dedicated to seniors who need assistance with activities of daily living but can live somewhat independently. There are also on-call doctors and nurses to tend to the medical needs of the residents.
- Independent Living: For seniors who can live on their own, this is a place where they can spend their retirement years with their peers. There are provided services for more complicated tasks such as housekeeping, laundry, etc. so that seniors can just enjoy doing what they love.
- Memory Care: For those living with dementia, this facility will provide them with the care and support they need. Other than daily living assistance, therapy and other activities for the elderly are provided for the care recipients to help reduce the progression of their disease.
- In-home Care: This is for the elderly who prefer to receive care within their homes. Although being in a familiar environment makes seniors more comfortable, it lacks the medical equipment and other facilities found in nursing homes and nursing home alternatives.
3. Seek the help of subsidies and financial assistance schemes.
Assessing your payment options is one of the most important things on this list. If you are coming from a low-income household, you may seek the help of government subsidies and financial assistance schemes. By applying for these and qualifying, you can lessen the costs of long-term healthcare.
There are also private care service providers that offer in-house financial assistance to seniors who have no family members to support them financially. This is meant to give every member of the senior community a chance to receive proper care and support during their retirement years.
4. Know the factors to consider in choosing a long-term health care provider.
There are many senior care providers, but not all of them are the same. You must know the factors to consider in choosing the long-term health care provider that’s best for you. This is to ensure that you will receive the right care and support that you need.
Factors to consider would be location, quality of services, amenities, security, performance of the caregivers, and others. You need to do a thorough background check on your prospective health care providers to ensure that you will experience a better quality of life in their care, instead of the opposite.
5. Consider the location of the health care provider.
Check the location of your target health care provider. Is it easily accessible for your loved ones to visit you easily? Is it nearby amenities and important establishments such as hospitals, shopping malls, leisure parks, and others that are vital to your lifestyle?
Also, a location has a certain ambiance that will affect your stay in the health care facility. If you prefer peace and quiet, choose facilities that are located in serene areas. If you enjoy the noise of city life, choose the ones in business districts or busy streets. If you participate in programs like the NDIS, you may reach out to support coordination, who will refer you to a trusted and reliable facility.
Aging surely is a challenging point in our life. But as long as you think and plan ahead, it’s more likely for you to enjoy it rather than worry about it. It doesn’t make you paranoid. It just makes you prepared and responsible for your own well-being. Remember, long-term health care will give you better chances of living a life that’s fulfilling and satisfying.