Assisted Living Facility or Nursing Home? One of Life’s Questions.

PBS Frontline recently ran a story title “Life and Death in Assisted Living” you can find it here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/life-and-death-in-assisted-living/.   One of the most difficult conversations that too many families avoid is how to deal with long-term care and an individuals end-of-life decisions.   The National Hospice Foundation  reported that 75% of Americans have not made their end-of-life decisions known, through either verbal or written communication.   See Tim Prosch, The Other Talk: One Baby Boomer’s Approach to Long-Term Planning, The Voice of Experience  Vol. 25 No. 2, pp 1, 13-15 (2013).   Most people avoid this conversation because lets face the facts, its hard to think about the inevitable.  Parents do not want to speak to their kids about the possibility of disease, injury, loneliness, depression, or even death.  The fear and anxiety of discussing those topics often leads to parents and children avoiding it all together.  However, imagine the confusion and anxiety that comes with having a loved one immediately need nursing home care and not knowing where to begin.

Life will literally be turned upside down trying to determine if you have enough funds to pay for the service.  If you have a loved one that is in the need of long-term care you will need to consider: (1) which medical services are covered by Medicare; (2) Does the party in need have enough to cover the costs of a nursing home or assisted living facility?  If not, does the parent in need qualify for Medicaid or Veteran’s Affairs benefits?; (3) Do I want to be in a nursing home or assisted living facility and do I get a choice? (4) How do I apply and qualify for Medicaid or Veteran’s benefits if needed; (5) will my spouse be taken care of if I am in a nursing home; and (6) what else am I missing?  Discussing these issues with your parents can help prepare you and your family if that time arises.   The National Association of Elder law Attorneys (“NAELA”) has a great article about the http://www.naela.org/NAELADocs/PDF/Media/Press%20Releases/2013%20Press%20Releases/Press%20Release%20-%20ALFNursingHome.pdf

If you have questions about any of these items please do not hesitate to start the conversation early.

Shane K. Warner, NAELA Member

Perry Law, P.A.

Serving Safety Harbor, Clearwater, Saint Petersburg, Tampa