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The costs of long-term care continue to rise.  The average cost of one month in a nursing home, according to the State of Michigan, is now at $6816 per month or almost $82,000 per year.  The hourly cost of home care is $20 or more per hour.  This is more than most people can afford.  A recent Harvard study noted that 69% of single individuals and 34% of married couples would use up their life’s savings after paying for a nursing home for less than a year.  In addition, these same individuals also cannot afford the high cost of long-term care insurance.

Therefore, getting funding to pay for the high cost of long term care is very important.  The government program that provides help in paying for the cost of long-term care is Medicaid.  Unfortunately, the government has very strict rules about assets that must be met before it will pay for these high costs.  The rules are very different depending upon whether the person is pre-planning or crisis planning. Continue Reading »

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A new study released by Oxford University in September, 2010 found that approximately one out of every six persons over the age of seventy suffer from some form of “mild cognitive impairment”.  Unfortunately, fifty percent of those persons will also develop Alzheimer’s disease (named after the German scientist Alois Alzheimer who first described it in 1906).   This form of dementia is a brain disorder that causes destruction of brain cells, progressive memory loss and other behavioral disorders and eventually leads to death.   It is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.   Is there anything that can be done to prevent this disease?

There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease.  However, the new Oxford study suggests that there is a treatment that can slow the disease or possibly prevent it altogether.   The study found that a vitamin B complex containing extremely high doses of vitamins B6, 9 and 12 taken regularly can slow the process of brain shrinkage by five hundred percent. Continue Reading »

It is good news that those who served during wartime may be eligible for an “Aid and Attendance” pension to help pay for long-term care at home or in an adult-foster care or assisted living center.  This pension can pay between one thousand and two thousand dollars a month to help cover care costs.  That supplement has been a help to thousands who would not be able to stay out of a nursing home without it.

In addition, at Heritage Elder Law & Planning, PC, we have found that those who do qualify for the Veterans pension have a distinct advantage when it comes to long-term care overall.  This is true because in spite of heroic efforts, approximately seventy-five percent of those getting assisted living care will end up needing nursing home care at some point.  Therefore, planning for the nursing home is essential even for those who will qualify for the Veterans Aid & Attendance pension. Continue Reading »

In April, 2010 the new Michigan Trust Code became the law in Michigan.  Why the need for a new law regarding trusts.

First, Michigan has a comprehensive set of laws regarding wills that went into effect in 1998 (the “Estates and Protected Individuals Code” or “EPIC”).  However, trusts (especially the revocable living trusts) were becoming very common.  People like trust since they permit their owners to avoid probate, reduce taxes, create greater confidentiality, flexibility and reduce contestability.  Therefore, a similar comprehensive body of law was needed for the vast and burgeoning area of trusts. Continue Reading »

On March 21, 2010 the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) became law. Some provisions of the new health care bill signed by President Obama will directly benefit senior citizens.

First, there is a new federal long-term care insurance program that can help meet the staggering cost of long-term care.  This part of the new law is called the “Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act” or the “CLASS” Act.  This federal insurance provides up to fifty dollars ($50.00) per day (approximately $1500 per month) for persons to use when they need help with the activities of daily living. Continue Reading »

The Social Security Administration has recently announced that they have added early-onset Alzheimer’s to the list of conditions under its “Compassionate Allowance Initiative”. This is a great help for those younger persons afflicted with this debilitating disease, giving them expedited access to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

In the past, people with early-onset Alzheimer’s have had difficulty when applying for Social Security benefits.  While they may have eventually been able to receive the much-needed benefits, it was usually after first being denied and having to file an appeal. This process could take several years, during which time medical care and other necessities were often compromised. Continue Reading »

It is not uncommon to have family members provide care for their aging parents or relatives.  This is understandable when one considers that most people would be more comfortable with their own family than with a stranger providing assistance with their activities of daily living. In fact, according to a recent study, about 21% of the population provides such family care.  These generous persons provide an average of 21 hours per week over a period of 4.5 years.

One problem with this approach, however, is that family caregivers are often forced to cut back on their employment or even quit their jobs in order to provide for their parents.  Especially in a difficult economy this can create financial hardship for the caregiver and that person’s immediate family.  Hence, many persons ask if there are any government programs that will pay family caregivers to provide care for their loved ones. Continue Reading »