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Archive for the ‘Family Resources’ Category

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. (more…)

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It is becoming increasingly common for family members to provide care to a loved one from a distance.  This is an inevitable result of the shift from the days when families were multigenerational in the same area (or sometimes the same house!) to the modern trend where the family members are distant from one another.  Hence, it is not uncommon to find a child from a different area or state being responsible for an aging parent or parents.

With the distance approach, however, comes a unique set of problems.  The distant caregiver cannot generally take the proper amount of time to care for the loved one. This is especially true as the care needs increase over time.  The caregiver increasingly relies upon telephone contact with medical and other professionals to meet the needs of the loved one. (more…)

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In the past I have discussed various ways of paying for home care though the Veteran’s programs and private pay.  In this post I will discuss how and under what conditions Medicaid will pay for long-term care services provided in a person’s home.

While senior citizens usually think of Medicaid as a program that helps pay for nursing home care, there is the option of having Medicaid pay for care in the home.  The Medicaid program that handles home care is called the “MI Choice Waiver Program.”  It provides home and community-based services for aged and disabled persons who, if they did not receive such services, would require care in a nursing home. 

The MI Choice Waiver Program is administered by various branches of the Area Agency on Aging.  A list of the branch offices and the counties they serve can be found at: http://www.mfia.state.mi.us/olmweb/ex/pem/106.pdf. (more…)

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A recent case in Connecticut shows how the fallout from the new Deficit Reduction Act is hurting not only nursing homes and their residents, but the residents’ families as well.  In the case of Glastonbury Healthcare Center, Inc. v. Esposito, the nursing home successfully sued the adult son of a resident for over $100,000.  This has sent up a loud warning for those families who are tempted not to plan ahead for their long term care needs.  It also sends a warning to facilities that assume patients can handle the Medicaid process without professional help.

 

In the Esposito case the adult son, Carmine Esposito, signed an Admissions Agreement when his elderly mother entered the nursing home.  He signed it under the power of attorney from his mother.  He did not sign it personally as the Responsible Party.  Among other things, this document contained the provision that the Responsible Party agrees to “act promptly and expeditiously to establish and maintain eligibility for Medicaid assistance.”  (more…)

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In today’s day and age advances in medicine have permitted us to extend and preserve life more than ever before.  However, for most that means that there is a period of time — especially as we age — when we will live with a disability.  Thus, there needs to be a way of appointing someone to help us with legal and financial decisions when we are not able.  This is especially important when long-term care costs threaten to drain an estate that could be saved with the proper grant of authority.   

A “power of attorney” is the most common way of appointing someone to help with important legal and financial decisions.  It is a written document wherein one can appoint someone to handle some or all of their legal and financial affairs.  The document is based on agency law.  You (the one appointing) are called the “principal” and the one appointed is called the “agent”.   (more…)

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Many of my clients are being cared for by loved ones or are providing that kind of care for others. Sensitivity to the difficulties they face can help all of us provide better service to the elderly and their caregivers.

As the population of elderly people in our country continues to increase, so does the number of adult children who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their aging relatives. According to the Census Bureau, about 1 in 8 Americans were elderly in 1994, but about 1 in 5 will be elderly by the year 2030—and will increasingly require the assistance of loved ones to obtain the care they need.

According to a 6-year study on elderly people caring for spouses with Alzheimer’s Disease, the stress involved with caregiving can negatively impact your health. The study, done at Ohio State University in 2003, found a significant deterioration in the health of caregivers and a 63% higher death rate than the similar group of non-caregivers. The continuous demands placed on an adult child caring for an aging parent can induce illness and depression, limit the effectiveness of the caregiver, and even lead to premature death. (more…)

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According to a recent study, when asked about their most important concerns for the future the elderly are most fearful about:

1) Remaining independent in their homes without intervention from others;

2) Maintaining good health and receiving adequate health care;

3) Having enough money for everyday needs and not outliving assets and income.

While the elderly are certainly concerned about long-term care disability and the resulting catastrophic needs, those items are not ranked at the top of the list. What most seniors don’t realize is that in order to achieve the three top goals listed above one generally needs to plan ahead. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be happening.

Currently, long-term care costs are running, on an average, about $6500 per month (The MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home & Assisted Living Costs, October, 2007). At that rate, most persons’ savings will be depleted in less than an average stay in a nursing home (2.5 years). Thus, an extended disability that requires long-term care is probably the most catastrophic event that could happen. It can make it impossible for a senior citizen to achieve the three goals mentioned above, destroying any hope for a secure future. For example, with the need for long-term care the older person: a) Loses independence b) Has experienced a loss of good health c) Uses up remaining assets and income. (more…)

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