Health Resources for End-of-Life Care

Some people die quickly, while others linger for a period lasting from days to years. Some older adults have very clear minds in rapidly weakening bodies, while other elderly people have strong, healthy bodies but minds ravaged by dementia. The wide range of what the end of life looks like for different people causes some uncertainty when people plan for their own end-of-life care or that of a beloved family member. But learning more about the practical details of the end of a person’s life can help people to make a plan for their unique circumstances.

Written by Brian Greenberg
CEO / Founder & Licensed Insurance Agent

Last updated: December 20th, 2022

Elder Care

Elder care refers to all of the services older people may need as they age. For example, in many states, seniors are eligible for a shuttle service to take them to their medical appointments. Often, the goal of elder care is to provide support services so that the senior can stay independent for as long as possible. However, most elder care activities are performed by family members. Medicare covers some elder care supports. Seniors with very low incomes are eligible for more elder care services through Medicare.

End of Life

All of the medical care and other support received by someone in the time leading up to their death is known as end-of-life care. Some people spend months receiving this type of care, while others may reach the end of life much more abruptly. What this care looks like depends on the choices and needs of the patient and their family. It’s very important to some people to die at home, while others prefer a hospice facility. While many people want their loved ones around them during this period, it’s very common for people to die while they are alone. Families should try to follow a person’s wishes. People receiving end-of-life care typically need help with practical tasks along with physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional needs. Their loved ones will also need support at this time.

Life Insurance

Most families need the deceased’s life insurance proceeds to pay for end-of-life expenses like funerals and burials. Most death benefits are paid out within 30 days of the policyholder’s death. The named beneficiary of the policy receives the proceeds. Typically, they will need to provide a death certificate and beneficiary claim form to the life insurance company. The funeral home usually assists families in getting copies of the death certificate. It’s a good idea to get multiple copies because aside from life insurance companies, death certificates will also need to be sent to banks where the deceased had accounts and other official institutions. Some people are more organized than others, and it’s not uncommon for a person to not realize that they have old life insurance policies still in effect. Families should use tools like the NAIC Life Insurance Policy Locator to ensure that they know about all of the policies their loved ones held.

Grieving Families

Grieving families need support. Families with young children who are dealing with the loss of a loved one often need practical help getting the kids to and from school and keeping them fed and looked after. Similarly, families with other elderly members also need special help keeping those family members cared for during the grieving period. No matter what the makeup of the family, though, family members will need support to help them navigate the first days of life without their loved one. People who have been providing significant care shouldn’t feel guilty if they experience a feeling of relief as well. This is normal and not a sign that they didn’t love their lost family member.

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