Families are often beset by challenges when making the decision to bring in a care manager to help manage a loved one’s medical and personal care needs. Arranging care, assessing long-term care options, and understanding what they can afford are but a few of the many questions most families have.
For the most part, care managers feel comfortable answering questions relating to care options and strategies. Talking finances, however, may feel more intimidating. After all, there’s only so much a person knows about a family’s finances and the kind of care they can afford. Coming up with a robust financial picture isn’t necessarily where a care manager’s strongest skills lie.
Talk Finances Early
Affording care is one of the biggest challenges families face. In fact, the average out-of-pocket cost of care is $140,000. Some insurance plans can help make a dent, but few can make care more affordable outright. This means that the financial component of care looms large for families, and care managers can help tackle this head-on by discussing it early in the assessment process.
Be an Ally
In most cases, you’re likely to be the sole source of information about everything care-related, including finances. Although you’ll also discuss your own fees with families, there is a significant opportunity for care managers to serve as a source of wisdom for financial questions. Basic questions about paying for care can—and should—start with you, especially if you can rely on tools that help measure the cost of care. Of course, if there is a financial conversation or care component that is outside your level of expertise, you can always bring in a financial advisor to help.
Families may understand that care is expensive, but few know exactly what options they might have to help pay for it. There are often resources available to families that they may not know about, such as the sale of a life insurance policy. Selling a policy can help families access cash from the policy’s overall value before the policyholder passes away, often helping families financially when they need it the most.
Financial conversations are vital for both families and care managers, and can have a major impact on the kind of relationship you end up having with them. You’ll want to know what families can afford in terms of care not only for your own fees, but also for drafting your care plan. It’s better to work together and early into the relationship: that way you can forestall any unexpected financial challenges.