Leading into a health care-related blog post with the observation that long-term care costs are pricey is not exactly an earth-shattering point to note, we concede.

Still, the attorneys at the Arkansas estate planning law firm of Robertson, Oswalt, Nony & Associates duly make the point. We do so based on our belief that acknowledgment of the financial challenges tied to, say, end-of-life care for a senior loved one is a necessary first step toward subsequently taking proactive steps to control them.

Unquestionably, they need to be contained.

Here’s ample evidence of that: A study recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society indicates that costs relating to the care of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia typically surpass $320,000 over the final five years of assistance received.

Reportedly, about 86% of those costs are borne by family members. A media report on the study notes that family costs owe mostly to “informal care and out-of-pocket payments for medical and long-term care.”

Again, such a high — and progressively ballooning — outlay does not surprise Americans, who are regularly challenged by successive rounds of escalating health care costs.

If there is a silver lining to the cost challenge, it is this: Families who timely consult with a proven estate planning attorney and craft sound forward-looking strategies for an aging loved one’s long-term care can often shelter a fair amount of assets and ensure their relative’s eligibility for valuable government programs like Medicaid.

Our attorneys routinely assist with that goal, knowing that — as we stress on a page of our website addressing long-term care challenges and strategies — sound advocacy “can mean all the difference in preventing health care costs from depleting [family] assets.”