Amy bigger picBy Amy Rowan
Options Counselor for the Area Agency on Aging and Member of the ADRC

When I speak to people about Long Term Care planning, the reply I get is, “I want to stay home, and I don’t plan on going to a Nursing Home.”  In long term care planning, the nursing home is the absolute last option.  When you plan for Long Term Care, you should be looking at what options, services and benefits are available, so if your health or a family member’s health is impaired or declines you know what is available and what it takes to sustain services to remain living at home.

What is Long-Term Care? Long-term care is a range of services and supports you may need to meet your needs to remain living in the community safely. Most long-term care is not medical care, but assistance with the basic personal and everyday tasks of everyday life.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs):

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs):

  • Housework
  • Managing money
  • Taking medication
  • Preparing and cleaning up after meals
  • Shopping for groceries or clothes
  • Using the telephone or other communication devices
  • Caring for pets
  • Responding to emergency alerts such as fire alarms

Who Needs Care?

70% of people turning age 65 can expect to use some form of long-term care during their lives. There are a number of factors that affect the possibility that you will need care:

  • Gender
    • Women outlive men by about five years on average, so they are more likely to live at home alone when they are older
  • Disability
    • Having an accident or chronic illness that causes a disability is another reason for needing long-term care
    • Between ages 40 and 50, on average, eight percent of people have a disability that could require long-term care services
    • 69 percent of people age 90 or more have a disability
  • Health Status
    • Chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure make you more likely to need care
    • Your family history such as whether your parents or grandparents had chronic conditions, may increase your likelihood
    • Poor diet and exercise habits increase your chances of needing long-term care
  • Living Arrangements
    • If you live alone, you’re more likely to need paid care than if you’re married, or single, and living with a partner


Other areas of Long Term Care Planning

  • Advocacy
  • Advanced Directives
  • Caregiver Support
  • Estate Planning
  • Funeral planning
  • Support Groups
  • Veteran’s Benefits
  • Home Health
  • Hospice
  • Transportation
  • Medicare Policy’s
  • Applying for Long Term Care Medicaid
  • Purchasing Long Term Care Insurance
  • Staying Healthy and active
  • Home Modifications
  • Cost of care and how to pay for it.
  • Fall Prevention

Who Will Provide Your Care?

Who to Call?

  • Montrose County Health and Human Services: 970-252-5000
  • Montrose County Health and Human Services West End: 970-864-7319
  • Delta County Health and Human Services: 970-874-2030
  • Gunnison County Health and Human Services: 970-641-3244
  • Hinsdale County Health and Human Services: 970-944-0321
  • Tri County Health Network: 970-708-7096
  • Area Agency on Aging: 970-249-2436

Tips for Long Term Care Planning

  • Be educated
  • Don’t wait for a crisis to plan
  • Have conversations with your family, have a plan, make sure they know your wishes
  • Have a Medical Power of Attorney in place
  • Have a Financial Power of Attorney in place
  • How or who will pay your bills if something happens to you?
  • Meet with a lawyer to get your Will and Estate plan in place and make sure they are up to date
  • Meet with your Financial Advisor
  • Meet with the funeral home and set up your funeral (services and payments)
  • Talk to your Medicare and Long Term Care insurance providers, (understand your policies)
  • Do you need to purchase Long Term Care insurance?
  • Know the difference between Home Health, Home Care and Hospice
  • Know the Long Term Care Medicaid qualifications and the 5 year look back rule
  • Research the different Long Term Care Medicaid Programs, PACE, IHHS, CDAS
  • Have a plan for when you stop driving
  • If you are a caregiver, who will take care of your loved one if something happens to you?
  • Have a home safety evaluation
  • Will you need home modifications?
  • How will you pay for dentures, hearing aids, ramps etc?
  • How will your mortgage get paid if your spouse passes away and you lose their income?
  • Do you qualify for Veteran’s, or Miner’s benefits?
  • Tour the Long Term Care and Assisted Living Facilities
  • If your spouse or family member has signs of Cognitive Impairments do you have your POA’s in place?
  • Know what services are provided in your area
    • Home Care/Making
    • Home Health
    • In Home Respite Services
    • Home Delivered Meals
    • Medical Equipment Companies
    • Legal Aid
    • Transportation
    • Caregiver Support
    • Financial Payee’s, Money Management
    • Hospice
    • Companionship
    • Adult Day Centers
    • Life/Medical Alerts
    • Support Groups
    • Area Agency on Aging/ADRC Aging and Disability Resources for Colorado
    • Long Term Care Planning Education Programs