Another Valentine’s Day is upon us and, this year, it is coupled with a long weekend (pun intended). Countless numbers of people will be celebrating with their loved ones throughout the weekend, but with the extra days, there is more than enough time to spread the love around. In fact, it may even be beneficial to do so! We frequently speak about planning for long-term care through Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) and VA Aid & Attendance Non-Service Connected Disability in the event that you are stricken with a long-term ailment. However, studies show that love may be the best prescription for a high quality of life.
Many of the studies about the effects of love on health center on married couples, showing that married couples live longer, have lower blood pressure, and require medical care less often. Additionally, married people are less likely to be depressed, drink heavily, or engage in risky behavior. However, even if you are unmarried, many of these same benefits can be achieved through social connectedness. Through close friendships, a support network, and simple contact like hugging, many of the same health benefits may be achieved. These contacts can not only help you live longer, but can also improve your long-term quality of life. Even when people engage in risky behaviors like smoking and drinking, they still seem to outlive unmarried or unconnected people.
However, if you remember the movie, The Notebook, everlasting love does not insulate you from the health effects of aging! In the movie, the main female character develops severe dementia but has occasional lucid moments where she recognizes her husband. Dealing with the real concerns of aging through your estate plan can ensure that you and your loved ones are prepared for the stress and expense of long-term care. Additionally, it may be possible to minimize your own stress associated with being moved frequently for care.
When considering the possibilities for long-term care, you can plan for how long you wish to remain in your own home, flexibility in the event your home needs to be sold, and the types of care you wish to receive or have withheld. If you are considering in-home care, it may be possible to make arrangements for one of your family members to provide care for a fee. If skilled nursing care becomes necessary, VA Aid & Attendance may contribute over $24,000 to the cost of care. Medi-Cal may also assist with the cost of long term care, but Medicare will not. Both VA and Medi-Cal have income and asset requirements for eligibility.
Planning ahead may also reduce in-fighting and strife among your family members, allowing them to continue to reap the health benefits of loving relationships even after your passing. So, this weekend, spread the love! Call up old friends, chat with your family members and hug your spouse and your children or grandchildren tight. While you’re at it, review your estate plan, as you should regularly anyway, and make sure that it still reflects your needs and wishes.
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