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Most of us believe there will always be enough time to plan for long-term care. Then, life happens, and all of our hopeful expectations are dashed, including for our loved ones. When all is well, it’s difficult to convince mom, dad, a partner or other loved one to plan for the future. The alternative is much worse, because it means facing decisions during a crisis.

More than 65 million people nationwide are caregivers for a chronically ill, disabled or older family member or friend during any given year, according to the Caregiver Action Network, a national nonprofit that supports family caregivers. These caregivers need accurate information, which is often difficult to find.

“It is hard to plan financially, hard to predict, yet the most important issue is to ensure that someone will be financially secure,” and have enough available funds to choose a desirable facility, says Lindsay Goldman, director of healthy aging at the New York Academy of Medicine. She adds: “You shouldn’t have to impoverish yourself to get on Medicaid to get the level of care you need.”

Goldman advised that people research the policies and programs of the long-term care facilities they’re considering. For example, assisted living facilities differ in the services they provide. “You have to educate yourself about what is needed now and what might be necessary in the future,” Goldman says.

Unfortunately, as Goldman confirmed, there is no central clearing house that provides information. “It’s challenging,” she says.

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