Disclaimer: The following information is provided for general educational purposes only. This does not constitute specific legal advice and each family and client's situation is unique. In reviewing this information, no attorney-client relationship exists between the Law Offices of Scott G. Hoh and the reader. Our firm only officially represents clients when a signed client engagement letter is in place. No one else may rely on this information or claim that in reviewing this general information, an attorney-client relationship exists between the reader and our law firm. Obviously, the internet, websites, blogs, robots, and internet legal companies are not a substitute for a properly licensed attorney. Accordingly, this information is for general informational purposes only.
MOM OR DAD ARE STARTING TO BECOME FORGETFUL AND I'M WORRIED ABOUT THEM LIVING ON THEIR OWN, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
One of the most difficult decisions is when should children step in to supervise financial controls and coordinate care in order to best protect parents. There are many resources available regarding how to start a conversation. It is human nature that no one wants to relinquish control over their life. It is critically important to have a Power of Attorney in place before mental incapacity occurs. If no POA is in place, the only other avenue is to file a court action to declare the older person incompetent, and the court will appoint a guardian to best protect that person. It is crucial to act now before the problem becomes acute.
HOW DO I START A CONVERSATION WITH MOM OR DAD ABOUT NURSING HOME CARE?
One of the most painful and difficult decisions is for children to tell their parents that they can no longer live on their own and steps are now being taken to move them to an assisted living facility. Most nursing homes and assisted living facilities have a conversation guide with tips on how to start this conversation. The Law Offices of Scott G. Hoh also has a similar conversation guide. Finally, there are certain governmental resources through the Pennsylvania Department of Aging and each county's Area Agency on Aging and guides for what to do when evaluating how best to protect older family members.
WILL THE FEDERAL OR STATE GOVERNMENT PAY FOR MY NURSING HOME CARE?
Fortunately, we no longer live in a country where an older person is forced to live and die alone and hungry on the street. Through the federal and state government's social safety net, impoverished seniors are entitled to Medicaid, which can pay for nursing home care for the indigent elderly. Other assets must be extinguished before a person is eligible for Medicaid, and certainly look back windows apply to make sure that a person has not given away all their assets to their family or friends and then ask for free Medicaid care. The Law Offices of Scott G. Hoh can help clients evaluate Medicaid eligibility requirements.
WHAT IF I HAVE SOME RETIREMENT ASSETS AND OWN MY HOME, WHAT ARE THE COSTS AND OPTIONS FOR NURSING HOME CARE AND HOW IS THIS FUNDED?
This is a somewhat complicated question. There are different types of senior apartments, assisted living, and skilled nursing care choices, and services are provided at different price points. There are certain low-income housing and assistance programs available for low-income families, there are moderately priced facilities, and there are also high-end luxury retirement facilities. All facilities are licensed by the State and resources are available to review safety records and consumer complaints. All the facilities have a business office, and some have social workers who will help answer questions regarding fees and financial eligibility.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CONTINUING CARE RETIREMENT COMMUNITY (CCRC), A LIFE CARE COMMUNITY, AND A FEE-FOR-SERVICE RETIREMENT CENTER?
Different retirement communities are developed at different price points (i.e. high-end luxury communities to moderately priced communities). Residents can enter an independent living setting (apartment or cottage) and can increase care to assisted living when needed, and on to skilled nursing care when required. There are advantages and disadvantageous to different pricing plans. A Type A contract includes a higher entrance fee and higher monthly fee, but this fee is set, even if more expensive skilled nursing care is provided later. A Type B Contract has lower fees, but the number of days for advanced care is limited, after those days are exhausted, the regular daily fee rate is assessed. A fee-for-service or Type C contract is a pay-as-you-go system. This type of structure is beneficial for residents who would like to take advantage of the independent living facility, but do not anticipate long durations requiring assisted living or skilled nursing care. If someone has Long Term Care insurance, a Type B or C contract often makes the most sense. Obviously, each situation is different and depends on the age, health, economic resources, insurance, and goals of each resident. Again, there are many resources available to help consumers make informed decisions and find a facility that is best suited to each person's economic circumstances.