*September 2018 Articles*
Getting Services Into The Home Paid For!
The best way to protect assets from nursing home costs is to STAY HOME. Sources of payment to stay at home are private funds, long term care insurance (see our article this month "Don't Wait Too Long To Purchase Long-term Insurance") and governmental payments and subsidies such as various Community Medicaid Programs and Veteran's Aid and Attendance Pension.
Community Medicaid Programs
Community Medicaid, a means tested program, is a governmental program that helps pay for care at home. As a general rule, Community Medicaid will pay up to 28 hours of care per week at home. Specifically, a certified home health aide or personal care attendant to provide assistance with bathing; dressing; ambulation; laundry and
meal preparation to name a few. Private agencies generally charge $25-$28 per hour for such care which can be burdensome for families. In addition, many Adult Day Health Centers accept Community Medicaid. It may be necessary to hire an attorney who restricts his or her practice to elder law and Medicaid planning to navigate the complicated rules to qualify clients for this benefit.
Some of the Community Medicaid Programs include:
- Community Choices Program: which is designed for the frailest seniors to provide intensive services to those who are at imminent risk of nursing home placement.
- Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Program: which is designed to give individuals with long-term disabilities both control over how their own personal care needs are met and the choice to live at home independently.
- Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE): which is a comprehensive program for assisting older adults to stay in the community (some PACE programs pay for care at some Assisted Living Facilities).
- Caregiver Homes Program: which is an Adult Foster Care Program that pays for an adult child, relative or friend who lives with the senior (not including a spouse) to care for the senior at home.
Veterans Aid & Attendance Pension
The Veterans Aid & Attendance Pension is a non-taxable monetary benefit paid monthly directly to an eligible veteran and/or their spouse who is in need of the aid of another person to perform functions of daily living. Those eligible to receive such payments can use that money to pay for services that come into their home such as homemakers or home health aides in order to assist with such tasks as housework, laundry, food shopping, and personal care tasks such as bathing and dressing. Such payments can also be used to pay for care in an assisted living facility.
- Wartime Veteran or surving spouse
- Served at least 90 days of continuous active duty, one day during a wartime period
- Honorable Discharge or equivalent
- In need of assistance with daily care
- Income/Asset Requirements
Eligibility Dates of Services:
WWII.......... December 7, 1941 - December 31, 1946
Korea........... June 27, 1950 - Janurary 31, 1955
Vietnam....... August 5, 1964 - May 7, 1975
Gulf War...... August 2, 1990 - to be determined
Those eligible for this Pension can use the funds to help finance the cost of care at an assiated living facility or at home. The following us a summary of the monthly monetary benefit:
- Individual Veterans can receive up to $1,794 per month
- Veterans and Spouse can receive up to $2,127 per month
- Surviving Spouses can receive up to $1,153 per month
CALL OUR STAFF AT SRC, INC. TO DETERMINE WHICH OF THESE AT HOME CARE OPTIONS MAY WORK FOR YOU.
Don't Wait Too Long To Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance
The older you get, the harder it is to qualify for long-term care insurance. If you are interested in buying this insurance, it is better to act sooner rather than later.
Many people put off purchasing long-term care insurance until they need it, but by then, it may be too late. Not only do premiums increase as you age, you also may not even qualify for insurance due to your health. The older you are, the more likely you are to have a pre-existing health condition that will disqualify you from getting long-term care insurance.
According to a recent study by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, 44 percent of applicants who were age 70 or older had their applications denied due to health reasons. And those are the applicants who completed applications. Insurance agents frequently discourage unhealthy applicants from applying in the first place.
In contrast to older applicants, only 22 percent of applicants who are between 50 and 59 years old and 30 percent of applicants between 60 and 69 years old had their applications declined. Generally, the best (and cheapest) time to buy long-term care insurance is when you are in your 50s.
Long-term care insurance is not the best option for everyone, but if you are thinking about it, don't put off the purchase until it is too late. To find out if a long-term care insurance policy fits into your long-term care plan, consult with your elder law attorney or your certified financial planner.
How To Discuss Unsafe Driving With A Senior
In the 29 years that I handled personal injury lawsuits, most of them were car accidents. I represented injured people hundreds of times. In cases where a victim had been hit by an older driver who should never have been behind the wheel in the first place, I always wondered why no one had addressed their unsafe driving and taken their car keys away. Surely their adult children, spouse or friends must have realized that it was only a matter of time before someone got hurt.
According to researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, elders, their doctors and their family members tend to avoid the dreaded driving discussion until certain signs like straddling lanes, excessive nervousness, and sudden, unnecessary stops or accelerations start to appear. Unless physicians inquire about driving specifically (many don’t) or seniors self-report issues they’re having (a rarity), then family members must be the ones to spearhead this effort.
If you’ve noticed that an aging loved one just isn’t safe behind the wheel anymore, I strongly encourage you to intervene. Most seniors who are losing their ability to drive safely either don’t recognize it or refuse to face the thought of giving up their independence, mobility and control. Losing the ability to drive a car is a lifechanging event, as it is very difficult to maintain one’s own care at home without transportation.
Denial is a very common reaction to the early warning signs that an elder is becoming a dangerous driver. This can occur both among seniors themselves, who really don’t want to have this privilege taken from them, and their adult children, who must then find Mom and Dad alternate forms of transportation.
If you are noticing warning signs that an aging loved one is no longer a safe or reliable driver, don’t hesitate. Try these tips to handle this emotionally charged and difficult issue.
Tips for Discussing Driving with A Senior
- Approach the subject respectfully and at the best time of day for your loved one. Ask if it’s a good time to sit down and talk about something that’s been on your mind lately.
- Bring up the issue of driving while you express care and concern for how difficult it must be to even talk about it. If your loved one resists the subject, gently insist that it must be addressed.
- Promise that you will do what you can to help improve their driving and keep them mobile.
- Encourage them to see a doctor to check for any physical and/or mental health issues that may be interfering with their ability to drive safely. In some cases, minor interventions, such as a change in medication or a new glasses prescription, may be able to improve a senior’s functional abilities enough to help them regain some of their driving skills. If you can, accompany your loved one to the doctor to ensure this issue is addressed.
- If the doctor determines that your loved one is no longer safe behind the wheel, present a strong, united front with them on the issue of giving up the car keys. Be gentle yet firm and focus on the importance of keeping your loved one and other members of the community safe.
- Research alternative forms of transportation in your loved one’s community. Options may be limited in smaller towns and rural areas, but family members, friends, neighbors or church members may be willing to help provide a lift here and there. Local transit resources, public transportation and ride-sharing services are excellent alternatives for seniors who are still capable of planning outings, sticking to a schedule and navigating their community. Be careful about promising to personally provide all rides on the condition that they agree to stop driving, though. Errands, doctor’s appointments and outings can add up to become a huge commitment both time-wise and financially.
- Try to present transportation alternatives in an encouraging way that allows your loved one to maintain as much autonomy as possible. Work with them to find different options that can help them maintain their schedule and lifestyle as much as possible.
Driving cessation is always a contentious topic, but the earlier it is addressed, the better. Do your best to approach your loved one with understanding, but don’t be afraid to stand your ground. Acting on this concern after an accident occurs is akin to applying sunscreen after one has already gotten sunburned—it might minimize the risk for future injury, but the damage has already been done.
By: Carolyn Rosenblatt, agingcare.com
99-Year-Old Walks Six Miles A Day To Visit His Wife In The Hospital
The human spirit at its best and SENIORS at their best. Perhaps your best is yet to come?
- Senior Resource Center, Inc. (SRC) is not a law firm, but is affiliated with Falco & Associates, P.C. SRC provides a legal overview of potential legal issues and may make a referral to Falco & Associates, P.C. or a law firm of the individual’s choice if legal work is necessary. Services provided by SRC are not legal services and the protections of the lawyer-client relationship do not exist with regards to these services.
- Senior Resource Center, Inc. (SRC) and its employees are not registered investment advisors, nor do we offer or sell securities.