The Importance of Planning Ahead for Your Care.

My mother was committed to a nursing home by the courts.  I will expound on this later, but I am guilt free as I was doing everything I could to assist her and prevent this situation.  She was also secretive and paranoid about her finances, except she had set up Power of Attorney for healthcare and finances some years before in the event she became incapacitated.

When she was committed and I was deemed her legal guardian by a judge I was able to run her finances outside government control because she had these documents in place. If she had not had these documents drawn up  the county would be in control of her money and I would have no say over anything other than paying her monthly nursing home bills as an executor. I also would have had to file quarterly financial reports with the county.

That said, I literally had to sit and wait for bank and other statements to come in the mail to find out the extent of her finances after I was appointed her guardian.  My mother was big on denial that  her faculties were slipping and I have watched her hard earned money go to the nursing home.  If she had sheltered her money she would have been covered by Medicaid.  And this is the big big point- our government does not put people on the street, at least not at this point.  We are 100% private pay for her nursing home and have been for 14 years.  For four years prior to this my father was private pay in a nursing home.  As a patient in a Community Based Residential Facility, his monthly fee had topped out at about $2700 a month. This was in the late 1990’s.

When my mother was first committed we were referred to the county nursing facility at a cost of $6000 a month.  I was shocked at the cost as I knew what we had paid for my father’s care.  I asked one of the attorneys involved in the guardianship matter if this is what the Medicaid rate was. He said ‘Oh no, this is about 2 and a half times the Medicaid rate.”  The bottom line is if you are private pay you are subsidizing the patients’ care who are on Medicaid. And the care is the same. The nursing aides and medical staff do not know who is private pay and who is on Medicaid.  If this does not give you an incentive to shelter your money/assets five years prior to needing or being forced into care then nothing would -unless you have no one you love that you want to inherit your funds or assets.  Remember, you should visit an elder law attorney to discuss ways to shelter your assets five years prior to needing nursing care or refer to my blog post on sheltering your assets for excellent reading on this topic.



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