“By Failing to Prepare, you Prepare to Fail” - Benjamin Franklin

Have you always thought that there could not be anything more shocking than a cancer diagnosis for your parents? When you learn this devastating news, so many questions rush through your head: How much time do we have? What do we need to do? Is there a cure in sight? What health care needs will they have now? What can I do to help? Do they need a second opinion? These are just the start of the list of questions you need answers to in the coming days. 

As experienced Florida estate planning attorneys, we know just how concerning a cancer diagnosis is. Now is the time to not only think about the health care needs of your aging parents but it is also the time to think proactively about their future. You will want to ask questions to determine:

 

 

There is also now the question about whether or not your aging parents will be able to care for themselves. You also may be concerned and have serious questions related to how to find and pay for their necessary care, now and in the future as their healthcare needs change. Be aware that healthcare support can come in all forms for your aging parents. Consider options in the community such as:

 

 

The process of finding care for your aging parents can be a heavy responsibility, and one you may not be able to complete without help when you work full time and have a family of your own. The health of your parents may also decline to the point where they cannot live alone or need to be in a safe environment such as an assisted living facility or nursing home. While the first step is identifying the care they need, the next one is to find the funds to pay for it. 

Do you know if your parents have the ability to pay for the care they need? Medicare and Medicaid, for instance, may provide financial assistance with a cancer diagnosis. While Medicare and Medicaid are different programs and can help in different ways. Medicare is the health insurance program for adults over age 65. Many of the available Medicare plans pay up to 80% of the costs of all of the doctor’s visits and diagnostic tests that come prior to a cancer diagnosis, until the health insurance deductible is met. Medicare may then cover the remaining costs for the pre-diagnosis visits. This can make Medicare very useful for patients with cancer until long-term care is necessary. Unfortunately, Medicare has a limited nursing home benefit, paying only for 100 days of care.

Now, if your loved ones need custodial care, then Medicaid may be able to help. This will depend on the income and assets of your aging parents. A qualified Florida elder law attorney can advise you as you walk through the process of obtaining Medicaid services for your loved ones and help you through this challenging time. 

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers.  Our office is here to help you navigate the legal issues related to seeking and covering the cost of memory care. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

Is there a senior loved one in your family who has been able to live on his or her own successfully for years? Are you beginning to notice signs of fatigue, loss of weight or more days of not feeling good? It may be time for your senior loved one to move into a nursing home. It is a difficult decision to make, but have you and your family realized that your loved one needs a higher level of skilled care that only a nursing home may offer. Are you and your family concerned and want to protect your loved one from any abuse and general mistreatment in a facility? What should you and your family do now?

First, when you begin your search, make sure the nursing home is Medicare certified and accepts Medicaid. Medicare certification will assure you that there are standards that must be maintained and Medicaid approval may be able to help your loved one financially. We would like to share a few other ideas you can add to your checklist to help you and your family make the best decision for your loved one.

1. Find out if residents may have their personal belongings, including furniture, in their rooms. Is there storage space, such as an appropriately sized closet, in the room?

2. Find out what the various amenities are that are provided by the nursing home. Is there a computer and internet access in the bedroom? Is there a television? Is there a window to provide natural light? Having these types of comforts can help ease the transition into the nursing home.

3. Find out what type of activities the home offers and if the facility helps residents who may not be mobile. Are there outdoor areas for your loved one to use? Will your loved one be able to choose what time to get up, go to sleep, or bathe?

4. Find out about the support provided for residents with advanced health care needs. This is very important if your loved one is not in very good health and, in fact, this is the reason you and your family are looking for a nursing home. For example, a common disease that impacts many Older Americans is dementia. If your loved one has dementia, you will want to know if the nursing home has specific policies and procedures related to the care of residents with dementia. If the facility does have patients with dementia, what types of non-medication based procedures do they employ when trying the first attempt to respond to behavioral symptoms for residents living with dementia? Find out what percentage of residents have dementia and are currently being prescribed antipsychotic medication. This will help you to understand the type of residents that your loved one will be surrounded by as well as the home’s workload.

Our office is here to help you navigate the legal issues related to seeking and covering the cost of memory care. Our office is here to help. Please contact us today to schedule a meeting time.

Have you and your loved one just received the news that your loved one has Parkinson’s disease? Are you learning that as Parkinson’s progresses, the inability of your loved one to walk, bathe, and dress increases, as does the risk of falling? Also, if Parkinson's prohibits your loved one from living in his or her home, you and your loved one are now faced with the difficult decision of having to move your loved one into a nursing home. With the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home, there is also the question of how to afford the exorbitant cost of the nursing home? How can you pay for a nursing home if your loved one has Parkinson’s?

Start by determining if your loved one has any benefits which could possibly cover the cost of a nursing home. These benefits could include a long-term care insurance policy, life insurance policies, which can be cashed out, or veteran’s benefits. If your loved one does have one or more of these benefits, gather all the supporting documents, which may include original insurance policies or proof of veteran’s benefits and make copies. By talking about and locating these benefits now, you have the required proof of coverage should your loved one’s mental capacity decline as Parkinson’s progresses.

Next, you should seriously consider meeting with a qualified Florida elder law attorney. An elder law attorney, experienced in the area of long-term care planning, can assist in the review of any benefits you believe may cover the cost of a nursing home. In addition to the benefits, meeting with an elder law attorney can be one of the most reliable ways of determining how to afford a nursing home, when the time comes. In the discussion of paying for a nursing home you and your loved one need to know that Medicare does not cover the cost of any long-term nursing home care, Medicaid does. However, eligibility for Medicaid is based upon your loved one’s assets and, again, a qualified elder law attorney may assist in the drafting of planning documents, such as a trust, which may make your loved one eligible for Medicaid. This type of planning is most effective if conducted early, because there are time limits on the transfer of assets, which may affect Medicaid eligibility.

We know that a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is stressful, and it typically comes with many other issues to navigate. By working with a qualified Florida elder law attorney early in the diagnosis, you and your loved one can develop the best strategy of helping to assure your loved one will be able to afford a nursing home when the time comes. Your loved one will then have the peace of mind that he or she will receive the care that he or she needs, and you and your loved one can focus on sharing quality time in the present and future.

Our office is here to help you navigate the legal issues related to seeking and covering the cost of memory care. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

We understand that planning for the end of life, a disability or aging can be complicated and emotional. We are here to help you.

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