When nostalgia doesn’t quite match up with reality, it’s time for some challenging conversations with aging parents and, if you have them, your siblings. It’s not an easy topic, according to the article, “Making the best care decisions for aging parents,” from KARE 11 in Minneapolis, but it is better to have the conversation and make the plans for what’s next, than it is to bury your head in the sand and pretend that nothing’s wrong.
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 your aging parents may need and what they can afford.
Unless they qualify for Medicaid, they’ll need to pay for a nursing home out of their own pocket. For most, this could drain assets in short order. Many people also aren’t planning for long-term care in retirement. Note that Medicaid typically does not pay for assisted living.
It’s best to plan early. Long-term care policies should be bought and the best time to apply is in your 40s or 50s, when your health is good, and the cost is cheaper.
Encourage your parents to sit down with an elder law attorney, regardless of your parents’ assets, because the laws concerning Medicare and Medicaid are confusing. Every situation is different. If they have already, talk to your parents about what they have learned.
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 your parents believe gifting their estate away now will stop them 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, may need to be taken back to pay for the program or the applicant will be penalized.
There’s very little about this that is easy, for aging parents or adult children. However, planning in advance, in an intelligent and sensitive manner, is better than having to make hard choices in an emergency.
At Family Estate Planning Law Group, we facilitate Family Care MeetingsTM where the needed conversation between aging parents and adult children takes place and we are able to answer any questions and address any concerns.
For more information on this, the Family Care MeetingTM, and other estate planning topics, explore our website today and schedule your consultation!
Reference: KARE 11 (Minneapolis) (November 27, 2018) “Making the best care decisions for aging parents”