Financial concerns, facility wait lists and lack of accurate or helpful information are some of the common reasons people find themselves choosing a long term care facility when other, more independent options, might have been possible.
For example, someone has a fall and injury, then has surgery and goes to a skilled nursing facility for recovery. When their Medicare covered rehabilitation period is over, they may not feel confident returning home alone. Without advance planning (or substantial savings) many people can’t afford assisted living or home care. And many senior living residences have wait lists, so this isn’t the kind of decision that can be made “in the moment.”
This lack of options often leads individuals who might be perfectly safe in a senior apartment to choose nursing home care, because they can’t afford assisted living and the nursing facility will help them apply for Medicaid.
Many people don’t realize that Medicaid also covers the cost of some Assisted Living facilities and home care services – not just Long Term Care. With advance planning (or even some thoughtful after-the-fact crisis planning) there are a number of options that may be less restrictive and less expensive than nursing home care.
The following five suggestions are things you can do now to ensure that you have as many care options as possible in the future:
- Visit reputable facilities ahead of time and consider placing elderly loved ones on a wait list, even if you don’t think care will be needed any time soon. You can always decline and keep their name on the wait list, if your loved one isn’t ready when the time comes.
- Ask potential facilities if/when they accept Medicaid payment. Some facilities require a certain period of private pay before you can transition to Medicaid payment (1,2 or 3 years) – but this might be more affordable than you realize – especially with some advance planning.
- Review your assets, plan ahead for allowable expenses and manage health care spending to ensure a smooth Medicaid application when the time comes.
- Establish a life-care plan with an experienced senior care professional – this includes considering what your wishes are for the future and guidelines for how care decisions should be made.
- Any time it feels like you don’t have a choice about care options, ask more questions. Never allow someone to pressure you into making a decision before you feel ready. This is one area in which our Care Coordinators can be very helpful – because once we know what your care preferences and priorities are – our job is to help you navigate health care decision making with those goals in mind.
Bradley L. Greene, Esq. is a Life Care Planning and Elder Law firm located in Beachwood, OH specializing in Estate Planning, Medicaid Planning and Elder Abuse – offering personalized support and family guidance through all of life’s transitions.