Getting Started: Navigating the Path to Long-term Care

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Home Instead Senior Care offers advice to help families confidently plan for the future

As we age, few things are as important as creating a thoughtful plan for future care, yet research shows that most people are underprepared in this area. While many older adults know they should plan for retirement and beyond, starting is often the hardest part and many tend to overlook long-term care preparations.

In fact, while 73% of seniors have a written will, only 13% have made plans for long-term care, according to a 2018 study by Home Instead Senior Care. Additionally, the majority of family caregivers said they wished their aging loved ones had begun the planning process earlier and considered all options, such as home care.

“Whether it is living in their own home as they age or in a facility, older adults put themselves at risk of their wishes not being met when they don’t put a plan in place,” said Lakelyn Hogan, gerontologist and caregiver advocate at Home Instead Senior Care. “Making these decisions ahead of time can ensure seniors have a say in how they live out their later years. By starting a conversation early, both families and their loved ones can feel more at peace and better prepared for the future.”

As we kickoff a new decade, now is a perfect time to think through what you want for the future and communicate those wishes to friends and family. Sharing your needs and preferences so others understand, will help guarantee your wishes are met. Whether you’re in need of additional care now or just planning ahead, consider the following steps when navigating the path to care:

  • Start the conversation. Candid discussions are the first step in determining the right level of care. While it may feel counterintuitive, starting a dialogue far in advance is key – even before there are signs of slowing down. If you’re unsure of how to begin, consider sharing the story of a friend or family member who benefited from creating a plan.
  • Research care options. Whether you prefer aging in place, assisted living or another alternative, there are options for professional care. However, it’s important to discuss the benefits of every option before deciding what is right for you. For example, many who desire to age at home, aren’t aware of how to make it possible.
  • Assess financials. Contemplating the cost of professional care can be intimidating. Until you explore your options, you’ll never know what is possible. It’s important to remember that millions of seniors receive excellent care, despite financial challenges. Insurance agents and financial planners can help determine the best options to provide the care you may need, wherever you need it.
  • Meet with care providers. Once you’ve selected the best care option for your situation, schedule time to meet with the providers one-on-one to ask questions and discuss a roadmap for future assistance. Many care agencies offer free, no-obligation consultations to help you determine what offerings are right for you.
  • Finalize care. After a plan is agreed upon, schedule a regular meeting to check-in with loved ones and assess how things are going. Be prepared to adjust care as priorities shift.

While many people find it difficult to discuss sensitive life topics, this process can help families and their loved ones feel more at ease by establishing a plan to transition into the later years of life. To learn more about the long-term care options available for you or your loved one, visit

Founded in 1994 in Omaha, Nebraska, the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise network provides personalized care, support and education to enhance the lives of aging adults and their families. Today, the network is the world's leading provider of in-home care services for seniors, with more than 1,200 independently owned and operated franchises that provide more than 80 million hours of care annually throughout the United States and 11 other countries. Local Home Instead Senior Care offices employ approximately 90,000 CAREGivers℠ worldwide who provide basic support services that enable seniors to live safely and comfortably in their own homes for as long as possible. Home Instead Senior Care franchise owners partner with clients and their family members to help meet varied individual needs. Services span the care continuum – from providing personal care to specialized Alzheimer’s care and hospice support. Also available are family caregiver education and support resources.

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Dan Wieberg
Home Instead Senior Care
+1 (402) 575-5970
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