As we or our loved ones age the possibility of long-term care is that ever present fear in the back of our minds. The total upheaval of lives due to long term health matters takes its toll. A wife struggles to keep her husband at home while watching him deteriorate from Alzheimer’s; a daughter becomes sole caregiver for her aging parents while juggling her own family and job responsibilities. When long term care and nursing home placement become a fact, issues of displacement, the loss of independence, role reversals and in most cases the stark reality of financial ruin are all thrust upon us as part of the nursing home experience. An elder law attorney can help.
We all want to age with dignity and to have real quality of life. To succeed at this, you must arm yourself with all of the resources and knowledge you can—and you must plan. Are you or a member of your family thinking about a nursing home or assisted living facility? Is there a progressive, degenerative disease process happening to you or someone you care for? Are you just getting older and worrying about who is going to take care of you?
The key is to plan. Planning for long term care is unique to each person and family. The sooner the planning the more options are available; the less turmoil there will be in the future. The techniques and strategies available to preserve assets sort themselves out during the planning process. In most situations, planning means planning for Medicaid, the primary government program covering long-term care for Americans. Without it, many of us, our parents, grandparents and friends would be without care when most needed. The United States Supreme Court actually described Medicaid as among “the most intricate … Byzantine” texts “ever drafted by Congress.” Justice Henry Friendly once called the Social Security Act “almost unintelligible to the uninitiated” and another renowned appellate court famously stated that the statutes and regulations “are among the most completely impenetrable texts within human experience.”
Failing to plan or “Do-It-Yourself” planning can have catastrophic results financially, emotionally and physically. The Medicaid rules are complex and, quite frankly, the state Medicaid system is hard to navigate. You should consult with the right professional. Elder law attorneys understand how to counsel you and your loved ones and guide you through the long-term care maze. Planning with an elder law attorney will give you and your loved ones peace of mind.
Elizabeth Allen is the Firm’s elder law attorney. She can assist you with any long term care planning issues you may have. Call her for an appointment today.