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July 5, 2006
Identify Your Market for Effective Use of Messaging and Media


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3-Ms for Success: Message, Market, Media


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Marketing Your Services Means Covering All the Bases


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Posted: March 08, 2006

Professional Caregiving

Becoming Financially Self-Reliant for Long-Term Care Needs

Last week I participated on a panel of experts at the 6th Annual Intercompany Long-Term Care Insurance Conference in Anaheim, California. The topic of discussion “technically” was the advantages of using reverse mortgages to pay for the crisis of immediate long-term care needs, and using reverse mortgages to pay for long-term care insurance (planning ahead).
 
We also discussed the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, as it pertains to the federal government making it harder to qualify for Medicaid, which -- in turn -- makes pre-planning more important than ever.
 
The lesson for us all, for our families, our prospects, our clients, our residents, is that if it is at all possible, we need to plan on taking care of ourselves in our later years, with whatever means we have available.
 
Planning ahead for long-term care is essential. For our parents and grandparents who either didn’t have the means to plan ahead, or weren’t educated about the importance of pre-planning, we need to educate ourselves so that we know how to help them.
 
Most homecare agency owners, assisted living administrators, directors of nursing at nursing homes, social workers, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, physicians and healthcare professionals in general wouldn’t profess to also be experts in educating people on how to PAY for their own long-term care needs. But isn’t that the elephant in the room staring at all of us?
 
What if, as a professional caregiver, you had some basic information about financial strategies that allow people to afford to pay privately, at least for some period of time? What if you could attain and keep more private pay clients by adding just a small amount of information to your suite of services?
 
I am often asked to speak to organizations about how to attract and maintain more private pay clients. The answer is that it isn’t about chasing after the wealthy prospects; it’s about showing the average consumer how to make their dollars work better, harder. It’s about speaking to the client about their goals, obtaining their financial information (which most facilities will do), but then actually knowing how to apply those funds in a manner that helps the senior maintain their independence and choice.
 
I’m not suggesting that healthcare professionals and caregivers also become financial planners. I am suggesting, though, that if someone in each organization, agency, or facility knew a little bit about how annuities, long-term care insurance, high risk long-term care insurance, reverse mortgages, life insurance, and life settlements really work, they might at least be able to recognize when to refer a family to a local professional who can work with the senior to achieve certain goals.
 
Understanding that products and services exist to help your clients, prospects, and residents maintain a private pay status is the first step in moving toward a community that, for the most part, is not just waiting for the “spend down” to end so that they can rely on Medicaid. That’s not what you want, and that’s not what seniors want either!
 
I urge you to network with each other, learn from each other, and move toward a more financially self-reliant community as it relates to long-term care. None of us will regret it, if you do.

_____

Valerie VanBooven RN, BSN, PGCM, is a registered nurse, professional geriatric care manager, author, and professional speaker. She is a leading expert on long-term care planning and crisis management. Valerie is president of Senior Care Solutions, a private geriatric care management practice in the St. Louis area. Her books include Aging Answers: Secrets to Successful Long-Term Care Planning, Caregiving, and Crisis Management and her website is www.4seniorsathome.com. She can be reached at ASKvalerie@caregivershome.com. .

© 2006 Pederson Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.

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