Page Reviewed / Updated - December 05, 2010
Sometimes referred to as Life Resource Planners, this type of advisor has recently emerged to fill a gap in the long-term care planning space. Traditionally, professionals in this space worked on a goal-oriented model. For example, the goal may be to qualify an aging parent for Medicaid. A Medicaid planner works well in that capacity if one is certain their only option is Medicaid. The shortcoming in this model is that rarely is there only one option. Many state and county non-Medicaid programs exist, there are also veterans’ benefits, non-profit assistance, reverse mortgages and eldercare loans and these are just a few of the options.
Elder Care Resource Planners take a holistic and long-term view on financial planning for long term care. Their objective is to provide a family with a solution to their long-term care challenges, not to simply get over the next hurdle. Resource Planners examine each and every option available and help families to determine that what is best for them, helping them to preserve assets, maximize the use of public assistance and most importantly to get the care they or their loved ones need today and for as long as it is required.
Planners are especially relevant for persons with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia as the slow progression of these conditions all but guarantees that care will be required for an extended period of time. Fortunately, the slow progression also allows time for a planner to both develop and execute an elder care resource plan.
An Elder Care Resource Plan begins with an in-depth analysis of an individual or couple's situation. Taken into consideration from the client are the following:
The Elder Care Resource Planner then layers on information about:
The outcome of this in-depth analysis is personalized binder which includes:
The process starts with an in-depth phone interview in which the Resource Planner gathers information, ask questions and introduces the family to some concepts and ideas related to paying for elder care. In some cases, an additional appointment with a Geriatric Medical Care specialist occurs to assess the care recipient's needs. The Resource Planner compiles and analyzes all the collected information and develops a complete strategy for the family. This process takes 2-3 weeks. After which, the Resource Planner presents the strategy and options to the family and a plan of action is finalized.
Families, with their new-found expertise and their plan clearly laid-out in an easy-to-follow binder, are able to implement the strategy themselves. However, should they prefer to receive assistance with the implementation of the strategy, they can do so by presenting their binder to any number of elder care professionals, including county social workers, elderlaw attorneys, geriatric care managers and even other family members.
Most Resource Planners work remotely. The majority, if not all of their services, can be provided over the phone and Internet. Resource Planners intentionally structure their services and schedule this way because they recognize how difficult it is for family members and professionals who are also caregivers to get away and meet in person.
The fees for an Elder Care Resource Plan range from approximately $1,500 - $2,500 depending on the assets of the individual, their geographic location and a variety of other factors. The Elder Care Resource Planner will provide a final price during their initial no-charge assessment.
Should a family not be in the position to afford these fees, they might be able to obtain free assistance from their county social service office. Families should be aware that these case managers often have very heavy workloads and cannot provide the same level of objective advice as an Elder Care Resource Planner. Alternatively, those persons with extremely limited income and assets may qualify for Medicaid without assistance. Some Resource Planners offer financial assistance for their services by charging families on a sliding scale, based on income.
When is an Eldercare Resource Planner appropriate vs. retaining an elder law attorney? Both advisors play important roles and there exists some level of overlap in the services they provide. Resource Planners are more appropriate when a family does not know what to do with regards to paying for eldercare. While attorneys are better suited for addressing the how to do it. It is not uncommon for families to first work with a Resource Planner to develop a plan and then retain an attorney for help in executing that plan. This is, in fact, a smart strategy because Resource Planners are significantly less expensive than elder law attorneys and by working with a Planner, a family can dramatically reduce the number of hours for which an attorney will bill them. Many Resource Planners also maintain relationships with local elder law attorneys so that families do not have to work with two separate advisors.
Each Resource Planner will have their own processes and pricing. However, all should offer a free initial consultation. To be connected with an Elder Care Resource Planner or to arrange a free initial consultation, please complete this form.