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It's Not Too Late To Think About Long-Term Care For Your Loved Ones

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RALEIGH — Your parents took care of you when you were a child, but what about in the future when they are too frail to take care of themselves? There is time to prepare for long-term care for your loved ones if you start now.

For years, Hal Ballew made sure his son, Scott, stood on his own two feet, but now those roles are reversed. Scott admits he made a mistake not discussinglong-term care optionsbefore his father became ill.

"On a week to week basis, he's better but he has good moments and bad moments," Scott says. "I'm trying to get him settled in here, yet I'm also trying to sell his house in Texas."

Eldercare consultant Martha Grove-Hipskind says when it comes to discussing long-term care, there is no better time than the present.

"You have the most choices and the most options for your long-term care and your planning for it by talking about it when you don't need it," Grove-Hipskind says.

Grove-Hipskind suggests when bringing up the topic of long-term care, you should mention an article you may have read on the subject or an experience someone else had.

"Let somebody go back to a parent and say, 'You know I hadn't even thought about these things and I've been talking to Joe at work and you can't believe what he has discovered, and he says we need to be talking about this,'" Grove-Hipskind says.

There are several options available for those who may need long-term care.

Nursing homesare available for those with the greatest needs. Rest homes provide meals and care in a supervised, but slightly more independent environment.

In-home care is also available, but this can become the most expensive option. You can also live with your parents and take care of them.

For parents who still have their health, there are independent living communities, good for people who do not want to live alone or deal with maintaining a house.

There are alsocontinuing care retirement communities. People begin living independently, but can step up toassisted livingor a nursing home all on one campus.

When it comes to long-term care, Scott Ballew's kids will know what he wants so they will not have to make tough decisions like he did.

"Plan, definitely plan," Scott says.

Grove-Hipskind says this is not a topic people should bring up just once. She adds it is also a good idea to get an estate planner or an attorney.

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Len Besthoff, Reporter
Richard Adkins, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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