“The holidays can be a wonderful time spent with family you don’t get to see often. However, it can be difficult, when you notice that mom or dad is starting to seem less like themselves.”
Discussing the next steps isn’t an easy conversation, but if you plan ahead it can be less painful for everyone involved, says KARE 11 in Minneapolis in the article, “Making the best care decisions for aging parents.”
Many families find this out the hard way. When a parent requires immediate urgent care, the family must jump into “go” mode. It can be overwhelming. There are many options, which range from various levels of in-home care, to independent living, to assisted living and even to skilled nursing care. You should understand the level of care you need and what you can afford.
Unless you qualify for Medicaid, you’ll need to pay for assisted living out of your own pocket. For most of us, this could drain assets in short order. Many people also aren’t planning for long-term care in retirement.
It’s best to plan early. If you're going to buy a long-term care policy, the best time to apply is in your 40s or 50s, when your health is good and the cost is cheaper.
Sit down with an elder law attorney, regardless of your assets, because the laws concerning Medicare and Medicaid are confusing. Every situation is also different.
Many people aren’t aware that Medicare doesn’t cover many long-term care services. In fact, that limited benefit is designed to get somebody back to independent living, not help them with basic activities of daily living. Therefore, if it becomes a situation where somebody is going to need help with such basics as dressing, bathing and other activities of daily life for the rest of their life, Medicare is not going to cover it.
If you believe gifting your estate away now will stop you from losing it in the future, remember that most states have a five-year look back period. Any gifts of money or property in the 60 months before applying for Medicaid, can be taken back to pay for the program or the applicant will be penalized.
It's difficult enough to make the decision to place your parent in someone else's care, let alone to fret about how you’re going to pay for it. Plan now, if you can.
Reference: KARE 11 (Minneapolis) (November 27, 2018) “Making the best care decisions for aging parents”