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Mom forgets her insulin shot. Dad loses the utility bills. A foot slides in the bathtub. The stove top is left burning. Too often, it’s the little slip-ups that end in disastrous consequences for aging relatives. And while the vast majority of Americans over the age of 40 say they would prefer to stay in their own homes as long as possible, a recent AP-NORC poll reveals that roughly 60 percent of them admit they haven’t discussed their preferences for future living assistance with relatives, let alone taken the time to map out financial arrangements with them. When those conversations finally take place – often in panic mode – the web of social service agencies, in-home care providers and assisted living arrangements can be dizzying.
To help guide the conversation in your own family, and then connect with the appropriate resources in your community, PBS NewsHour has partnered with the nonprofit National Council on Aging to bring you this cheat sheet.
Step 1: Have the conversation
Step 2: Connect with community services
Step 3: See if you’re eligible for benefits
Step 4: Make the home safe
Step 5: Find and compare long-term care providers
Step 6: Start planning for your own long-term care
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization representing older adults and the community organizations that serve them.
Jason Kane is a PBS NewsHour producer, focusing on health care and national affairs.
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