If you’ve helped an elderly friend or relative find and figure out how to pay for long-term care, or you’ve done so yourself, you likely confronted a bewildering maze of unfamiliar terms as well as extreme financial complexity.

What’s the right type of care given the person’s needs? What type of care is covered by Medicare? When does your private insurance–either health or long-term care insurance–pick up the slack? And what expenses must be paid out of your own coffers? Can a spouse hang on to any assets before Medicaid kicks in and provides coverage for long-term care needs?

Unfortunately, many people are navigating the long-term care maze at times when they’re contending with other major challenges. Older individuals may be confronting declining physical health and/or mental faculties at the same time they’re attempting to make important long-term care decisions. And because long-term care may also bring a loss of independence, contemplating it can cause emotional distress for both older individuals and their loved ones.

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