As you begin to explore your options for a vibrant retirement here in Lancaster County, PA (aka, the best place in the USA to retire), there are many exciting things to think about. From the fun activities you’ll get involved in now that you have the time, to checking out the fantastic local restaurant scene, you have much to look forward to.
Of course, there is also a serious side to retirement preparation, too, which involves planning ahead for your own potential future care needs. Long-term care planning can seem daunting, and you likely have a lot of questions. The good news is, you’re not alone—far from it, in fact.
Pennsylvania has a multitude of strong resources that you can consult for knowledge about your long-term care options—including us here at Explore Retirement Living for questions specifically related to retiring well in the Lancaster area. Today’s post shares what you need to know.
What is long-term care and why should I plan for it?
While many definitions of long-term care are very clinical in their language, it’s true that the point of these customized services is to help meet both the medical and non-medical needs of people with chronic illness or disabilities who struggle in caring for themselves.
Long-term care is typically provided by nurses and a variety of caretaker aides who may or may not be supervised by a doctor. It’s also often centralized in campus-based locations like retirement communities that can provide a full continuum of care.
Our most recent post here on the blog touched on the types of health care offerings available at independent CCRC and Life Plan communities like those we promote, which strive to meet all residents’ care needs over time.
The reasons to plan for long-term care are akin to the reasons you plan for anything in life—to assure that you never get hit with unexpected circumstances that could negatively affect you and your loved ones. Considering the “what ifs” related to your overall health as you begin to make solid plans for retirement—instead of waiting until an illness or accident happens—is wise.
Among other benefits, planning ahead for care needs now may help you avoid having your power of choice taken away in a health crisis situation. No one likes to think about these scenarios, but proactively considering them, discussing them with loved ones, and making your wishes clearly known can prevent heartache in the future.
Pennsylvania-based agencies that oversee aspects of long-term care
Here in PA, several large agencies provide helpful information, as well as consumer advocacy and guidance when it comes to aspects of long-term care. You can connect with these organizations online or check out many in-person events they sponsor and promote.
A state-level government-based agency, the Department of Aging has many programs and resources that older Pennsylvanians and their caregivers can qualify for. While the agency mainly concerns itself with government policy and assuring that at-risk individuals have access to care, all Pennsylvania residents should get to know the wide range of services offered.
The PHCA is dedicated to the goal of ensuring that “all Pennsylvanians receive high-quality, compassionate care in the most appropriate setting for their unique situation.” Over 400 of our Commonwealth’s long-term care and senior service providers are members of this association, and they can help connect individuals to these businesses and organizations in their home communities throughout the state.
Additionally, PHCA provides education-based resources to help individuals and families learn about choosing among different types of residential programs and how to approach paying for long-term care, which can be extremely complicated. More and more individuals draw from a variety of resources beyond personal savings to cover their long-term care costs today, and it’s a good idea to know your funding options—like long-term care insurance—as you begin retirement planning.
Another state-level government-based agency, Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services seeks to connect eligible individuals—regardless of age—to public programs that can help meet their care needs. While this department focuses on assisting people in accessing Medical Assistance/Medicaid, even individuals who are not financially qualified for those resources may benefit from additional health care programs in Pennsylvania. Connecting with your individual county assistance office will put you in touch with a professionally trained staff member who can help you determine if there are programs you may be able to take advantage of now or in the future.
Other helpful organizations
It’s true that government-based agencies have the political pull to change how things work in the long-term care world at the highest levels and connect individuals with public programs and benefits they may not have previously known about. However, there are also many independent non-profit associations that serve as consumer advocates and guides in navigating long-term care options.
In fact, you may want to start with these organizations, as they offer a deep understanding of resources that can meet all of your needs in retirement—well beyond healthcare and physical concerns.
Our member communities here at Explore Retirement Living are by and large also connected with a senior services association called LeadingAge. This organization—at both its state and national levels—can bring concerns to the government-based agencies to effect change in policies related to aging.
In Pennsylvania, LeadingAge provides a number of consumer resources to help retirees decide whether making a move to senior living communities is the right choice for them. Indeed, deciding whether you want to “age in place” in your current home or take advantage of the continuum of care that many of their member communities can offer is a deeply personal process. LeadingAge understands this and wants all seniors to feel confident in their plans for the future.
Individual independent retirement communities
While all of our independent retirement communities here in Lancaster County actively recruit for new residents, which can often make you feel like you’re being marketed to constantly, it is because they care about providing excellent services to help you thrive in retirement!
CCRC & Life Plan communities offer unparalleled care and housing services along with more amenities than most people can even imagine. Connecting with a variety of these communities that most interest you can help you picture what your future will be like if you choose to retire to one of their campuses—we encourage you to reach out and take advantage of private tour and open house opportunities.
Explore Retirement Living is also here to answer your questions
Just getting started on your journey toward retirement planning? We would love to be your first connection here in Lancaster County! Get in touch with all of your questions about long-term care and more today!