Bob Michaels is extremely passionate about providing the best possible legal experience for his clients, and focuses his practice on elder law, estate planning, business, and real estate matters. Bob has been able to provide piece of mind and a solid foundation to many folks in the Puget Sound area over the years and wants to provide resources and relevant information whenever he can. For more information on how Bob can help your loved ones through these troubling times, contact Bob to schedule a FREE consultation.
Since the Covid-19 crisis began, nursing home residents have been separated from their families. Some families have gotten creative – visiting through windows, via Zoom, Facetime, and from parking lots. Although many have had no way to reach their loved one, and must rely on staff to give them updates.
Unfortunately, this isolation has increased depression and confusion in many residents, leading to heartbreaking scenes of seniors dying alone and families not finding out until after the fact, or families unable to enter their loved ones’ room during their final days.
Nursing Home Recommendations
At Tacoma Elder Care, your safety and security are one of our biggest priorities.
As part of our commitment to helping you through these challenging times, we want to share important information you may find interesting or relevant. This article, recently posted by Kaiser Health, brings attention to a silent crisis now occurring with elders in need of nursing care who are being turned away due to a shortage of beds and concerns surrounding the prospect of taking patients who may have coronavirus infections.
While we all wish our loved ones could spend every day of their lives independent and in the comfort of their own home, this is sometimes simply not possible. Making the decision to place your aging parent or another relative into a nursing home can feel like a betrayal. However, in many cases, it is completely necessary and truly understandable.
The good news is that even if you had to place your loved one into a nursing home, you can still be there for them. While you might not be their primary caregiver anymore, you are still an important part of their life. Here at the Tacoma Elder Care, we help families prepare for end of life care and other important long-term planning. When you need an elder lawyer in Pierce County, we hope you will turn to us. We value every client as if they were our own family member and can help you make the right legal decisions for your elderly loved one.
Accept the Change
Seeing a loved one enter a nursing home can be a very emotional experience. You may feel guilty for not being able to offer them the independence they once had. You may feel sad as you watch the changes they may go through. You might also feel relieved that you are no longer bearing the burden of being their primary caregiver.
These emotions and more are completely normal. Allow yourself time to grieve, be angry, or process any other feelings relating to the change. If you are carrying guilt over their move, allow yourself grace and realize that no one is responsible for the complete care of another human. If you are struggling with accepting the change, consider seeking help from a trained therapist. They can help you process the situation so that you are better equipped to help your loved one.
Help with the Transition Period
While your loved one’s move to a nursing home may be difficult for you to process, it is probably even more so for them. They may feel scared, sad, angry, frustrated, and potentially even defeated by this change. The transition period is the hardest for most seniors as it feels like a loss of independence. During this period, try to help as much as you can by offering support, patience, and a listening ear.
You can also help them as they transition into their new home by providing as much from their previous life as possible. Put together photo albums with all their favorite photos. Bring the items they treasure the most from their house to the nursing home. While they most likely won’t have space for everything from their old life, you can still help them decorate and make their new room feel more like home.
Try to be a Proactive Part of their Life
Once your loved one has settled into a nursing home or care facility, be sure you strive to continually be a part of their life. Take proactive steps to ensure they do not feel forgotten. If possible, visit at least once a week so they have a friendly face to look forward to. If you are far away, write letters and make phone calls to them frequently.
Encourage them to get involved in activities at the nursing home and to make new friends. Keep checking up on how they are feeling and how they are being treated to ensure they are receiving proper care.
Small gifts can go a long way in helping them feel special and to make sure they don’t feel forgotten as well. Don’t forget important dates, such as birthdays and holidays. By providing continued support for your loved one, you can help them feel like they have retained the best parts of their life.
Seek Legal Help When Needed
Nursing homes are often an excellent choice for those who have increased medical needs that cannot be met by family members. During this stage of your loved one’s life, it is important to make sure everything is in order for their end of life care. Don’t hesitate to seek legal help to ensure their assets are protected, their wishes honored, and their medical care amply covered.
Here at Tacoma Elder Care, we can help you with finding the right resources for your loved one. We can assist you with putting together the right legal documents for your loved one’s needs. Be sure to schedule your FREE consultation today.
It might be hard to imagine, but at some day you may need some help taking care of yourself. The big question is: How will you pay for it?
Buying long-term care insurance is one way to prepare. Long-term care refers to a host of services that aren’t covered by regular health insurance. This includes assistance with routine daily activities, like bathing, dressing or getting in and out of bed.
A long-term care insurance policy helps cover the costs of that care when you have a chronic medical condition, a disability or a disorder such as Alzheimer’s disease. Most policies will reimburse you for care given in a variety of places, such as:
Considering long-term care costs is an important part of any long-range financial plan, especially in your 50s and beyond. Waiting until you need care to buy coverage is not an option, as you won’t qualify for long-term care insurance if you already have a debilitating condition. Most people with long-term care insurance buy it in their mid-50s to mid-60s.
About half of 65-year-olds today will eventually develop a disability and require some long-term care services, according to a study revised in 2016 by the Urban Institute and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Most will need services for less than two years, but about 14% will require care for more than five years.
Regular health insurance doesn’t cover long-term care, and only covers short nursing home stays or limited amounts of home health care. It does not pay for custodial care, which includes supervision and help with day-to-day tasks.
If you don’t have insurance to cover long-term care, you’ll have to pay for it yourself.
People buy long-term care insurance for two reasons:
To protect savings. Long-term care costs can deplete a retirement nest egg quickly. The median cost of care in a semi-private nursing home room is $89,297 a year, according to Genworth’s 2018 Cost of Care Survey.
To give you more choices for care. The more money you can spend, the better the quality of care you can receive. If you rely on Medicaid, your choices will be limited to the nursing homes that accept payments from the government program.
How long-term care insurance works:
To buy a long-term care insurance policy, you fill out an application and answer health questions. The insurer may ask to see medical records and interview you by phone or face to face.
You will choose the amount of coverage you want, but policies usually cap the amount paid out per day and the amount paid during your lifetime.
Once you are approved for coverage and the policy is issued, you will begin paying premiums.
Some companies offer a “shared care” option for couples when both spouses buy policies. This lets you share the total amount of coverage, so you can draw from your spouse’s pool of benefits if you reach the limit on your policy.
Cost of long-term care insurance
The rates you pay will depend on a variety of things, including:
Your age and health: The older you are and the more health problems you have, the more you’ll pay when you buy a policy.
Gender: Women generally pay more than men because they live longer and have a greater chance of making long-term care insurance claims.
Marital status: Premiums are lower for married people than single people.
Insurance company: Prices for the same amount of coverage will vary among insurance companies. That’s why it’s important to compare quotes from different carriers.
Amount of coverage: You’ll pay more for richer coverage, such as higher limits on the daily and lifetime benefits, cost-of-living adjustments to protect against inflation, shorter elimination periods, and fewer restrictions on the types of care covered.
Tax advantages of buying long-term care insurance
Long-term care insurance can have some tax advantages if you itemize deductions, especially as you get older. The federal and some state tax codes will let you count part or all of your long-term care insurance premiums as medical expenses, which are tax deductible if they meet a certain threshold.
How to buy long-term care insurance
You can buy directly from an insurance company or through an agent.
You might also be able to buy a long-term care policy at work. Some employers offer the opportunity to purchase coverage from their brokers at group rates. Usually when you buy coverage this way, you’ll have to answer some health questions, but it could be easier to qualify than if you buy it on your own.
Get quotes from several companies for the same coverage to compare prices. That holds true even if you’re offered a deal at work; despite the group discount, you might find better rates elsewhere.
As you make a long-range financial plan, the potential cost of long-term care is one of the important things you’ll want to consider.
To learn more and to discuss what would work best for you, contact us at Tacoma Elder Care today!
Research shows that seniors recovering from knee or hip surgery have fewer complications recuperating at home instead of in a rehab facility, but what about those don’t have this option? Many seniors and their families are being pressured by hospital staff to select a rehab facility without enough time or information to choose wisely, potentially putting themselves at risk of receiving substandard care.
Choosing a Rehab Facility Can Be Daunting
In a recent Kaiser article written by Judith Graham, she writes, “Every year nearly 2 million people on Medicare — most of them older adults — go to a skilled nursing facility to recover after a hospitalization. But choosing the facility can be daunting, according to an emerging body of research.” As Graham explains, a nurse or a social worker will typically hand the patient and their family a long list of nearby facilities. Typically, the patient receives this list only a day or even hours before discharge. “Families scramble to make calls and, if they can find the time, visit a few places,” says the article, but they’re not given enough time or information to make an informed choice.
Often the family is not sure what the plan of care will be or what to expect. Such as, what will recovery entail, how long will that take, whether nurses and doctors will be readily available, all the therapy options, or how much it will cost? Many of these questions are completely overlooked, but one of the biggest omissions from the list, is any indicator of quality. The list rarely includes essential information about the services offered or what type of care quality you can expect. In other words, patients must make critical decisions under extreme pressures, armed with insufficient and unreliable information.
Choosing a Rehab Facility can be Stressful and Confusing
This leaves patients and families without quality guidance at a vulnerable point in their care trajectory. During a highly stressful and confusing time, uninformed patients and families often make poor choices. In 2018 the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) reviewed this issue and found that almost seven out of eight Medicare beneficiaries sent from a hospital to a skilled nursing facility for rehab chose a lower-rated care facility when higher-rated providers were available within 15 miles. It’s not that families didn’t have choices, on average patients receive a list of 34 short-term rehab facilities, it’s just that patients lack the time and data to make informed choices. As the MedPAC report suggests, recovering seniors who are discharged to poorly-run rehab facilities are at risk of complications such as infections or medication errors, and because they may not be receiving the proper rehabilitation or therapy they need, it adversely affects their recovery. Because of this, many times the patient is unable to return home and could potentially end up as a permanent nursing home.
Choosing a Rehab Facility: Pre-Planning is Essential
There’s a lot to this issue, and we recommend families read the Kaiser Health News article for some of the details and some helpful links to related resources.
It’s important to get information early. Families should insist on seeing a discharge planner soon after entering the hospital and start the planning process long before the discharge date. Be insistent and keep asking what options are best for the patient.
Planning for your future as you age involves preparing for decisions like this, and that means honest communication with your loved ones and careful preparation to ensure you receive the type of medical care you need. These two elements – family and medical – combined with a solid financial plan, a carefully-crafted legal strategy, and a well thought out approach to your housing needs as you age are all part of planning for your future.
At Tacoma Elder Care we're here to help. We recommend you join us for one of our FREE Workshops to learn more or call to schedule a Free consultation today.
Do You Need Expensive Long-Term Care Insurance? Or Will You Face Financial Devastation When Your Loved One Needs A Caregiver.
Statistics tell us that 1 in 2 females and 1 in 3 males will need some type of assisted long-term care after age 65. The cost of long-term care, whether it be at home, in an adult family home, assisted living facility or skilled nursing home is several thousand dollars a month. This cost continues to rise yearly. For many this will drain their resources quickly.
There are three ways to pay for long-term care. You pay out-of-pocket, shift the risk to a long-term care insurance policy, or are poor enough to qualify for Medicaid/COPES.
Long-term care (LTC) policies themselves are expensive, get more expensive each year and not all of them qualify medically. A rule of thumb is that if you need to change your lifestyle to afford the LTC policy now or in the near future, this is not for you.
We are here to help you figure out how to obtain long-term care without going broke – there are ways!!
Please call to schedule a FREE consultation or register for our next FREE Elder Law Workshops.