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Nursing home expenses

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OnceInALifetime posted 5/7/2013 19:08 PM

My mother has Alzheimers, and the annual care is a sick amount of money. Do any of you have any knowledge about how her entire estate can be prevented from going into the nursing home?

tabitha95 posted 5/7/2013 19:14 PM

My co-worker went through this with his mom. She had no estate left by the time she needed assisted living and memory care.

Was your mother or father a veteran? There is an assisted living benefit for veterans and their spouses. It was around $1k a month for my co-workers mother.

OnceInALifetime posted 5/7/2013 19:40 PM

Not a veteran, I'm afraid.

What happens when the money runs out?

Williesmom posted 5/7/2013 19:56 PM

See an elder care attorney.

I'm sorry about your mom.

tryingagain74 posted 5/7/2013 20:04 PM

I think that there are a few things you can do legally (based on my parents' experience with my mother's parents); however, I think that my parents spoke to a lawyer and were advised as to how they could legally retain some of the assets. For example, your mom might be able to gift you whatever the non-taxable gift amount is for the year (14,000?), but again, I don't know for sure.

Unfortunately, this is what happened with my grandmother. She and my grandfather held onto their money over the years instead of gifting it to my mom. Long story short, everything they saved went toward the nursing home until there wasn't anything left. Once that happened, Medicaid kicked in and picked up the tab. I'm assuming that's what would happen to your mom once her money ran out.

I'm sorry about your mom.

[This message edited by tryingagain74 at 8:05 PM, May 7th (Tuesday)]

cmego posted 5/7/2013 20:49 PM

Get thee to an attorney. There may be ways of placing the estate into trusts or gifting to you and your children.

Bobbi_sue posted 5/8/2013 13:30 PM

What happens when the money runs out?


Well, my father was in a nursing home for six years before he died. He had a stroke and never walked again, needed assistance to go to the bathroom, etc. Was practically blind and deaf. Absolutely no quality of life but he had no living will and I don't think there were any discussions about taking him off life prolonging medications.

But when the money "ran out" they suddenly decided there was no point in continuing with the "life prolonging medications." And he died a few months later.

He was a veteran but it did not matter. There was nothing left when he was gone.

Newlease posted 5/8/2013 14:16 PM

Unless a person is extremely wealthy or has nursing home insurance, they will likely spend down all their assets and end up on Medicaid.

My mother was not wealthy, but she had around $8,000 hanging in her non-interest bearing checking account when my sister took over handling her bills. She had been slowly sinking into dementia and didn't realize she had that money in her account.

My sister had her sign it over to a money market account with both our names on it. It was done a few years before she started needing round the clock care. Her retirement check and SS went straight to the nursing home and Medicaid took care of the rest.

Nursing home care is incredibly expensive. As everyone in our family works full time, we could not take care of mother in our own homes.

We used the "stash" money for things that Medicare/Medicaid did not cover, i.e., false teeth, some medical devices not covered, and transportation 30 miles to and from her Dr. appts.

She had pre-paid for her funeral, as Medicaid does not allow someone to hold an insurance policy while receiving benefits. It is considered an asset.

Check with your local Dept on Aging - either at the county or state level. They should be able to help guide you.

NL

woundedwidow posted 5/8/2013 17:32 PM

My Mom recently passed away due to Alzheimers. Fortunately, her assets had not run out, because the facility where she lived did NOT accept Medicare or Medicaid, and we never wanted her to have to move. It can depend on the state where the person is living. My sister also just admitted her husband to an assisted living facility dedicated to dementia and Alzheimers patients because he has dementia. Since he is only 78, she is making sure that her money will be protected, and that when the funds for his care run out, he will be allowed to stay there on Medicaid. The facility social worker put her in touch with the proper people. Good luck; it's a difficult situation for all concerned.

OnceInALifetime posted 5/8/2013 20:20 PM

Thanks everyone. I'll speak to a professional. From everything I understand, there's nothing to be done to save her estate. Unfortunately, she was never a forward thinker, so she never set up trusts or made gifts. Her plan was to take hemlock before entering a nursing home.

JanetS posted 5/8/2013 21:45 PM

My mother lived with me for the last two years of her life. But, after being on a waiting list for long-term care, she was given a spot (shared room, we had hoped for private), and she only lasted 8 days before she passed.

I'm in Canada, and in Ontario seniors (IF they can get a spot) pay a max. of $1800/month (includes meds, food, care...pretty much everything). And, because she worked as a civilian, but for the war effort, our Dept. of Veteran Affairs paid her rent. A private room would have been a few hundred more, and my brother and I were going to cover that.

In the end she only had a few thousand dollars in her bank.

While we were waiting for her space in a care facility, the DVA (Dept. of Veterans Affairs) paid for her hospital bed at home, and 12 hrs/day care,(meds covered 100% by DVA for decades). It was an amazing blessing. With cutbacks I don't think they offer all of this now.

[This message edited by JanetS at 9:48 PM, May 8th (Wednesday)]

tushnurse posted 5/9/2013 13:08 PM

Once - See and elder law attorney for sure.
If she is too advanced to set things up in a trust now, meaning she is not of sound mind there isn't a lot you can do.

She will have to spend down her money, and when that is all gone she will go on medicaid, and that will cover the cost of her living in a facility.

If she has funds now, and you are looking to place her now, make sure you shop homes, and see if any have Memorycare units, or Alz units. These are usually kept quieter, and focus more on helping the demented patients function without turmoil and upset. Many in my area do a fabulous job.

When looking into that, you also need to ask will they move her when her money runs out? Many of these units are not liscenced for Medicaid, ie the facility makes a lot more $$ on private funds than on medicaid $$ so there is no incentive for them to do it.

Lastly what is her quality of life? Has she lost 10% of her body weight in the last 6 months, is she so demented that she can no longer be ambulatory? If so then you may want to consider Hospice. This does not mean that your mom is going to die today or tomorrow, and Hospice level care within a facility provides a little more love and support to the patient and the family. If they are declining, and not eating well they will meet the requirement for it. This also means no more hospitalizations, no more aggressive care. It does mean a focus on quality vs quantity, and you have the right to revoke it at any time with no penalty to you or her. PM me if you have other questions or concerns. I have been working Care management with the senior patient population for several years now, and may be able to answer some of you questions.

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