Taking Care of Mom
Taking Care of MomMar 31
Shirley and Paul are paying for Shirley’s mother’s care in a nursing home. While they love her very much, it is costing them a fortune, over $10,000 per month in addition to their own cost of living. Their assets are draining down and they are worried about their own future and how they will someday finance their own care. They are going broke.
Mom has Alzheimer’s disease, but she is in excellent physical condition, and has very little stress in her life. In fact, as much as they love Helen they are afraid she will outlive their means.
What to do?
One of the mistakes I talk about in Naked in the Nursing Home is waiting too long to apply for Medicaid. Shirley and Paul are paying for Helen’s care because she no longer could and she may live many more years. Shirley and Paul are going broke to cover her continuing care, when in fact Medicaid should be paying for her care in this case and not her adult children. Too many times I see baby-boomers paying for their parents care when government assistance is available.
The reason Paul never thought of it is because he assumed Medicaid would never pay such high fees. The thing Paul doesn’t know is that the Medicaid agency does not pay such high fees, it pays a discounted rate.
Once you are in a facility and you go on Medicaid or Medi-Cal in California the tacitly cannot downgrade you or switch you to a cheaper room. The problem people have is getting into a facility on Medicaid; which is discussed in the book. In this case, however, Helen is already in. Shirley and Paul need to see an elder law attorney immediately and get Helen on public benefits.
Shirley and Paul need to do their own planning now, to avoid the situation Shirley’s mother is in. This brings us to long term care insurance a topic unto itself, and which a series of my blogs are dedicated to. This and other critical mistakes to avoid are discussed in the book.