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Long term care planning for for Colorado residents

Many Colorado residents are planning ahead for their golden years. Yet some may be unsure exactly what is meant by long term care policies. Below is a general overview of the services that might be covered in a typical plan.

The Colorado Division of Insurance describes long term care as an umbrella term that covers a broad range of care and services that are rendered to those who purchase coverage. It's important to note that these services are mutable and can fluctuate readily to accommodate a senior citizen's changing needs. Assistance may begin with simple tasks like help with household chores or cooking and gradually progress to medicine reminders, mobility assists and support for Activities of Daily Living.

There may come a time when a senior citizen can no longer safely live at home even with help for ADLs like eating, dressing and bathing. Certain policies will pay for in-home care that can later be transitioned to assisted living centers or nursing homes.

Making the decision on which policy best fits your needs is complex and depends upon many interrelated factors such as the marital status of the purchaser, their net worth (including the family home), whether there are heirs that will be inheriting assets and other individual considerations. An estate planning attorney can often assist consumers with cherry-picking the most comprehensive policy at the lowest price.

Don't purchase more coverage than you need, but do make sure you have enough. A typical senior will use a policy from two to five years. However, couples should take into consideration that one spouse may need a policy that covers all nursing home expenses yet leaves the healthier spouse with enough income or savings to live independently in their home.

Wise consumers make long term care purchase before a disabling medical condition is diagnosed and premium rates increase dramatically. Hiding health conditions is fraudulent and can result in canceled polices and lost funds.

Nobody enjoys dwelling on his or her own mortality and the decline of health that comes with the golden years, but preparing now for the inevitable gives seniors peace of mind.

Source: Colorado.gov, "Long-Term Care Planning: Colorado Options" Jul. 30, 2014

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