Making Difficult Decisions Together

One of the hardest decisions a family must make is whether a senior can continue to live safely at home. Rather than deciding for the senior when it is time for them to move into a nursing home or assisted living facility, be sure to include your loved one in the decision-making process. Consider all options in favor of allowing the senior to remain at home, including consulting a geriatric care manager to asses the safety of the senior’s home.

If the children do not live in the same community, and it is clear that a senior should not continue to try to live independently at home, the family should try to allow the senior to remain in his or her community.   Elderly people are usually well connected with their churches, garden clubs, book clubs, civic clubs, friends and neighbors, all of which provide them with social outlets and a sense of identity. To take them away from that creates a crisis all by itself and results in the senior being totally dependent upon the child who takes them into their home.

With some modifications, it may be possible for the senior to remain in his or her home alone. Geriatric care managers can provide inexpensive home care and safety assessments. Based on experience and a home survey, geriatric care managers can determine what modifications should be made to make the home place safer for the parent.

If the senior absolutely cannot live alone, it may still be possible for them to remain in the community with good family support.  If the senior’s children live close by and are financially able to do so, it may be possible to allow the parent to move in with them, or have one child move into the parent’s home to provide support.

Our firm tries to help seniors stay in their homes, as that is where they want to be. Helping seniors access a monthly pension through Veteran’s Benefits to pay for the cost of their care helps them achieve this goal. However, if the senior is not a war veteran, or their income is too high for the program called Medicaid at Home, a program known as Money Follows the Person allows seniors who have been on Medicaid in the Nursing Home for three months to return home. Through this program, seniors receive home care of up to eight hours a day five days a week through the same Medicaid benefits.  If, however, a Nursing Home or Assisted Living facility remains a necessary choice for your family, our firm can help you access public assistance to pay for the cost of long-term care, such as Medicaid for nursing facility care or Special Assistance for Assisted Living care.

The rules for these public assistance programs are complicated, so be sure to consult an experienced Elder Law attorney.   We also offer additional information on our website, and we offer free educational seminars each month on ways access money to pay for long term care.  See our website for the seminar schedule.   To learn more about these programs, or to find more information about geriatric care managers, contact W.G. Alexander & Associates today!

Attorney Bill Alexander discusses these issues and more every Tuesday morning on W.G. Alexander & Associates’ radio program, “Asset Protection Today,” on TalkRadio 850 WPTK (AM). Be sure to listen tomorrow  from 9:00-10:00 AM.  To listen to last week’s show, please visit WPTF’s on demand show blog by clicking here.