The holiday season is about gathering friends and family, sharing love, exchanging gifts, and celebrating long-held family traditions. It is a time of year that bridges distances, if only for a moment, and reminds us of our deepest connections. Inevitably, it is also a time of year that revives family matters long left to simmer on the back burner. If you have aging parents or a loved one unable to go it on their own, long-term care is one such issue. After all, making decisions around the subject is a matter that involves the whole family and, for better or for worse, the holidays present an opportunity to do just that.
Nobody wants to spend Christmas Day stuck in stressful, emotional conversation, however. The best way to ensure the matter is addressed efficiently and effectively, then, is to arrive with your homework done. Below we provide a cheat sheet that allows you to understand the available options without getting sucked into hours of internet research.
In-home elder care offers the enormous advantage of allowing mom or day to stay in their home and includes a range of services tailored to meet their specific needs. Like all forms of care, the goal is to improve quality of life, increase safety, and simply make life less of a chore. Common home care services include things such as light housekeeping, laundry, shopping, meal preparation, and medication reminders. At a more involved level, this option can also include bathing, dressing, incontinence care, eating assistance, and mobility among other necessary services.
Think of this as retirement living. Mom or dad may be doing just fine at home but are beginning to struggle with the loneliness of old age and the daily burden of upkeeping a house. Independent living resolves both by providing a ready-made community of friends while at once cutting down on maintenance tasks. Should the need (or simple desire) exist, prepared meals can be included in this option, and, best of all, independent living centers provide the peace of mind of knowing your loved one is safe.
If you were to combine the benefits of the two options described above, the result would be assisted living. This is the avenue to consider when mom or dad is doing fine but may need periodic help and would benefit from living in a center that ensures their safety and well-being. Assisted living centers offer housekeeping, meal preparation, 24/7 monitoring, shower, toilet, medication assistance, transportation, dressing, and social activities.
Nursing Home & Long-Term Care
When lasting or chronic health issues set in that impede independent living and require nursing care, a nursing home or long-term care facility is the logical place to turn. Here, mom or dad will receive the supervision and support they need to live out the autumn of their lives in peace and safety. Nursing homes provide all of the same benefits of assisted or independent living facilities with the addition of 24/7 medical attention and services.
Great, but how are we going to pay for any of that?
Inevitably, as you address the subject of elder year health and home options, you’ll be faced with the question of how to pay for such services. In many cases, Medicaid is the answer.
Should you Google the program, you’ll read that Medicaid is the nation’s public health insurance program for low-income people. However true, it is also the nation’s public health insurance program for the millions unable to afford the exorbitant costs of long-term care. After all, only the extraordinarily wealthy can manage the $8,121 average monthly cost of a nursing home. To qualify, however, middle-income individuals will need to work with an experienced elder law attorney to redistribute (and thereby retain) their assets.
A wide range of legal instruments exist that help everyday folks gain access to Medicaid. These include spousal income and asset transfers, annuities, lady bird deeds, Medicaid asset protection trusts, and qualified income trusts, among many other options. While too detailed to get into here, it would be our pleasure to take your call and explain which might be best for you and your family.