Life is about planning, from the moment we were conceived in our mothers’ womb, our parents have already made plans for our future. They would have planned on which kindergarten, primary and secondary school we should attend, what course we should study when we enter university which will lead a secure career path to the day we graduate from university. The buck doesn’t stop here. By this time, we would have officially entered the employment sphere in which we would begin making plans on which car or house to buy, making wedding plans to how many kids we would want to raise till having plans about how do we wish to live our golden years of retirement – Life is all about planning.
But yet in all our plans, have we ever thought about how we plan for our long–term care needs especially when we grow old. Ageing is inevitable and the possibility of needing care as we age is very real.
Before we get into the definition of Long-term Care, let’s take a look at Ally’s story which is inspired by true events. Ally’s mother, who is an active 65 year old suddenly, had a stroke three years ago which left her partially paralysed. Ally is forty, single, loves her mother very much and is a responsible daughter who always looks after her mother’s health condition.
Due to her stroke, Ally’s mother was admitted into hospital for more than a month and had to undergo a series of treatments which also required physiotherapy which needed her to go back and forth the hospital daily. Ally works normal office hours for five and half days a week. She is only able to have limited visitation hours to see her mom during office hours and ensure that her mom has proper meals and is well taken care off. This is a normal routine till she is able to be discharged. What is a crucial care period for a stroke patient is to ensure post hospitalisation how well the provision of care is executed. Stroke patients technically are only allowed to stay not more than 6 months at the hospital as stated in the hospital policy. After being hospitalised for half a year, Ally had to bring her mom home. She was in a dilemma as the stroke left her mom wheelchair bound. She didn’t want to send her mother to any old folk’s home after hearing horror stories and tried hard to look for a caregiver but it was hopeless. After discussing this with her siblings, finally, Ally’s sister-in-law – Jane, chose to quit her job and become the primary caregiver to take care of her mother-in-law.
Jane’s daily routine would be to cook porridge/soup, spend half an hour watching TV then wheel mom back to the room to rest. Apart from conducting the activities of daily living (ADL) like feeding, bathing, Jane would also administer light massages to ensure blood circulation and mobility of the limbs. Hearing about Ally’s mom gives us a clear picture that being a caregiver is not an easy task and it requires a lot of patience and stamina.
From Ally’s story, we know that her mother switched from being an active elderly to one which required long-term-care overnight. This was totally unexpected as Ally’s mother used to lead a very active lifestyle with her friends and family.
So, what is long-term care? Long-term care is services which help meet both the medical and non-medical needs of people with a chronic illness or disability who cannot care for themselves for long periods of time.
The categories of long-term care services include activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), elder care services and specialised care services.
Most of the things that Ally and Jane did are activities of daily living (ADL), because her mother cannot care for herself. Being a carer or primary caregiver for someone you love is not easy. Based on the Ally’s experiences, the family had to re-adjust to ensure proper care for the mother.
When we fall sick, medical fees are obvious and can be settled instantly, and which is usually covered by insurance. However what is not clear is how you cover the non-medical fees/expenses incurred after hospitalisation. We have to understand that the non-medical care fees are not covered by our insurance.
Non-medical care include medical consumables (like diapers, wound care dressing, ryles tube, urinary catheter), laundry, food delivery, transportation, companionship or social activities, which seem easy but really is something that we need help when we unable to take care of ourselves. Ally’s mom requires help to perform the simple tasks in her daily life after her stroke.
We have made plans for our retirement and even when the unexpected happens especially when it’s about our medical needs since we know how expensive the medical fees can get; that’s why we buy insurance products. But what we fail to plan and realise is that once you have been discharged from the hospital, you would still need the amount of care to recuperate and this is where the need to ensure you have set aside money for that provision of care. Here is when planning for your care needs which is non-medical comes into play. Finding the person to care for your loved one and having access to an array of care services which are of quality and affordable is not easy especially when it comes to your peace of mind at the end of the day.
Imagine being part of a care network that looks into your provision of care. Managed Care functions as a Care Administrator and plays a role to coordinate, monitor and administrate a variety of health and care service providers to ensure optimum value of care for your overall wellbeing.
Besides, offering a variety of care services, Managedcare also offers CareTRUST™ that helps you to set money aside to ensure provision of continuum care that is financially sustainable. CareTRUST™ helps those who worry that they cannot pay for their long-term care services. CareTRUST™ offers worry free financial options to ensure hassle free long-term care.
For more information about Managedcare, kindly visit www.managedcare.com.my or call our helpline 03-2142 7166.
Disclaimer: Photo taken from the ‘Beauty of Elderly’ photography competition 2015 and used for illustration purposes only. Photo submitted by Adrian Wong Jian Jieh.