The elder law attorneys at Nash, Nash, Bean & Ford focus on matters that are of interest to senior citizens and their families. Some of the subjects that we must discuss are not particularly pleasant, but it is important to pragmatically address the eventualities of aging. If you go forward with your head in the sand, challenging situations can be harder to contend with if and when they arise.
With the above in mind, you may consider the possibility of acting as a caregiver for an aging parent at some point in time. When your parents have been fully capable of handling all of their own day-to-day activities throughout their lives, it can be hard to imagine a time when this will become impossible. The picture becomes clearer when you start to recognize the fact that there are two distinct stages people go through after they have put their working years behind them.
We assist clients that want to plan ahead to accumulate the financial resources that they need to enjoy a comfortable retirement. Indeed, if you execute an intelligently conceived plan for an extended period of time, you may be able to enjoy your retirement years to the fullest. You can cross things off your bucket list, spend quality time with family members, and participate in the recreational and leisure activities that you enjoy.
After the “golden years” that we have described above, things may start to slow down for your parents. Along these lines, you should understand some facts about longevity. Anyone that was born in 1960 or later will become eligible to receive a full Social Security benefit at the age of 67. The life expectancy for an individual that is 67 years of age is at least 85 depending on the gender of the person. Clearly, octogenarians often need help with their activities of daily living.
Some elders that can live independently with some limited help reside in assisted living communities. This can be a good choice for many, but they are very expensive, and a lot of people simply want to remain in their own homes. If you have a parent that does in fact want to stay put with some help from you, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
It is important to assess exactly what is needed when you are first starting out as a caregiver. The point is to allow your parent to do as much as possible on their own as you fill in the gaps. Encouraging as much independence as you can is a very positive thing for everyone concerned.
You can feel as though you have donned the superhero attire when you are taking care of the needs of an aging parent. The truth is, there is only so much that you can do without harming your own health. Many caregivers are seniors in their own right or close to it, so you should definitely recognize your limitations.
This naturally leads to the next caregiver tip, which is to seek out help from family members, friends, neighbors, etc. When you reach out in this manner, it can seem like you are “giving up,” but in fact, people typically understand how hard it is to do everything alone. You should allow yourself to feel whatever emotions may crop up, because it can be frustrating and stressful at times to act as a caregiver. After all, you are only human.
Medicaid Waiver Program
Medicare does not pay for a stay in a nursing home or assisted living community, and it does not pay for professional in-home care. However, Medicaid does pay for long-term care if you can meet the eligibility requirements. The Home and Community Based Services Waiver Program exists to provide financial support for people that can receive the living assistance that they need in their own homes. This can be an option if your parent requires a level of care that you simply cannot provide.
You are probably aware of the fact that Medicaid is intended for people with sparse financial resources. As a result, there is a $2000 limit on assets that are considered to be countable, (if a spouse is living in the home other limits may apply) but some things that you may own are exempt. To qualify, you could potentially give gifts to your loved ones, but you have to act in advance, because your eligibility is delayed if you give anything away within five years of the submission of your application.
We help people plan ahead with future Medicaid eligibility in mind. If you would like to discuss the details with one of our elder law attorneys, you can schedule a consultation if you call us at 309-944-2184 or 800-644-5345.