Helpful Ways to Pay for Assisted Living Costs

Health Care Worker and Elderly ManAssisted living rent can vary from $2,000 to $5,000 monthly. Depending on what type of care your loved one needs, assisted living can be the most affordable solution when compared to a nursing home ($5,000 to $10,000 or more per month) or long-term in-home care. If closely monitored medical supervision is not necessary for your aging senior, assisted living might be the best financial choice.

One payment strategy that has become popular is to use Medicaid.  If your loved one does not have many financial assets and their income levels are low, this could be the right solution for them. Medicaid varies from state to state both in name and in eligibility requirements. Many states dictate that a senior is eligible if he or she has less than $2,000 in assets, or $3,000 if married.

If you are trying to help a senior with a creative financial strategy by gifting money and other assets to family members, known as “Medicaid spend-down”, the government has a five-year look-back rule regarding financial transactions. There are strict guidelines about Medicaid spend-down. If a senior is caught incorrectly spending down resources to qualify for Medicaid, the penalties are steep, including disqualification from receiving Medicaid for a lengthy period. Also, many states do not cover assisted living under Medicaid, but require the submission of an additional wavier.   Be aware that Medicaid assisted living payments are only accepted by some communities and Medicaid beds are usually limited. There can be long waiting lists to enter into a Medicaid financed assisted living facility.

If your senior has a disability, he or she may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is a federally administered program. SSI is the government safety net for those destitute and wholly or partially disabled by illness or injury. SSI is a monthly payment which a senior can use to pay for assisted living. To qualify for SSI, contact the appropriate local Social Security office and provide financial documentation and a doctor certification to attest to your senior’s inability to work because of a medical disability.

If your loved one or their spouse is a Veteran, residential care could be paid for in a variety of situations with Veterans benefits. There is a set of benefits available to those with disabilities or service-related injuries, and there is also another set of benefits called Aid and Attendance, made available to any Veteran or surviving spouse who is both disabled and whose income is below a certain threshold. The Veterans Administration website outlines the complicated process to access benefits. It is extremely beneficial to work with an elder law attorney who knows the details of the programs and can assist with the application.

A life insurance policy can pay for your loved one’s assisted living. Often, seniors have a long-standing policy that was implemented to help family members upon their death, but a life insurance policy can provide financial support now. A process known as “accelerated” or “living” benefits is a “cash out” policy that can have your senior redeem 50 to 75 percent of the face value of the policy. Each amount is based on specific policy conditions as well as individual corporate rules. Some policies can only be cashed out if the policyholder is terminally ill while other companies are more flexible in cash outs. If your senior’s particular company does not allow the policy to be cashed, it can still be sold to a third-party company who usually affords the same 50 to 75 percent face value cash out. That company continues to pay the original premiums until their death, at which time the company redeems the full value of the policy. Finally, if your loved one’s policy is of lesser value, it may qualify for a life settlement option known as a “life assurance” benefit or conversion program, which allows the senior to convert between 15 and 50 percent of the policy value directly into long-term care payments.

Does your loved one have a long-term care insurance policy? It can pay for assisted living care. Policies vary, but once the determination and action is taken to collect on it, those monies can be paid directly to an assisted living facility or to the beneficiary who in turn pays the facility. It is wise to consult with an elder law attorney to help understand individual company requirements to optimize the process of collection.

An annuity can be used to pay for some or all of the senior’s assisted living. If your loved one invests a lump sum into an annuity, they will receive regular payments over a promised time period, usually the rest of their life. The annuity helps to stretch your senior’s budget and guarantee at least some money is coming in, even in the event they live longer than expected. Most annuities allow the beneficiary to continue to receive money regularly even if the purchase premium runs out. If your senior were to live a very long time, they would get more back than they put in and an added bonus is that annuities are oftentimes not fully counted as assets by Medicaid when applying for government assistance. The income is counted but not the value of the asset. It is imperative to seek the advice of an elder law attorney before opting into an annuity as they are complex financial products and a wrong decision could be disastrous.

Reverse mortgages are another strategy to pay for assisted living. If your loved one owns their home outright or has only a small mortgage on it, they can get cash value from their home equity in a lump sum or series of monthly payments. The bank will decide the valuation of the home based on multiple factors like the homes worth, interest rates and the applicant’s age. The borrower can stay in the house until death even if the loan balance exceeds the worth of the home. After death, the loan balance has to be repaid which usually means selling the home. Reverse mortgages were developed to help widows remain in their homes after the primary income earner passed away or if that spouse needed to move into assisted living, leaving the other spouse to reside in the long-time family home. Like annuities, a reverse mortgage is a complex financial product, and it is crucial to receive sound advice from a trusted professional and work with a reputable reverse mortgage company. If only one senior parent is living and they do not want a reverse mortgage, they might consider renting out their home and using a landlord to manage the property. The income from renting the house can be used to pay for assisted living expenses.

Lastly, it is possible to pay for assisted living with a bridge loan, which is a short-term loan of up to $50,000 explicitly designed to provide funds to move a loved one into an assisted living facility or continuing care retirement community. It is an unsecured (no collateral required) line of credit with the intent to finance the first few months of living expenses during the sale of the senior’s home, while the application for Veterans benefits is pending, or other actions that are taken that free up funds. Since the interest rates can range from 8.25 to 12.5 percent, this option is best as a short-term strategy. The other type of bridge loan is called the Capital Access Program. It is a lower interest lump sum loan secured by real estate or other assets that the company deems acceptable collateral. It is designed to help seniors come up with the large upfront entrance fee some senior assisted living facilities require. Both types of loans are based on the usual credit criteria: credit score, credit history, debt to income ratio, and more. The senior or an adult child can secure the loan, and up to six family members can cosign loan applications, allowing the risk to be shared among multiple family members.

If your loved one is healthy enough to successfully live in an assisted living facility, the monthly cost is likely a top factor when considering their options. These are some, but not all of the viable and creative ways to pay these costs. To fully explore the options available and what is best for your senior seek the advice of an experienced elder law attorney and make the best decision for your loved one. Contact our office today and schedule an appointment to discuss how we can help you with your planning and which strategy is best to help your senior pay for assisted living.

 

 

 

Alzheimer’s Disease 101 – Understanding the Basics

woman with alzheimer's disease What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is defined as an irreversible, progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age. It is the most common form of dementia.

What causes Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is caused by a generalized deterioration of the brain. The disease is caused by a combination of factors, including genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. There are a variety of factors that put people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Age and genetics are risk factors. As people age or if there is a family history of Alzheimer’s, there is a greater risk of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. People with Down Syndrome or mild cognitive impairment have a greater chance of having Alzheimer’s as they age. If a person has experienced past head trauma, this puts them at risk for Alzheimer’s.

The risk of Alzheimer’s is also related to lifestyle and heart health. Those with poor heart health and an unhealthy lifestyle put themselves at greater risk for the disease.

Finally, women are more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s than men. Some causes and risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease are impossible to change or control, but lifestyle and heart health are things that can be controlled.

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Understanding Hospice Care

Helping hands.What is Hospice care?

Hospice care can be very difficult for families to come to terms with, but can be a beneficial care option for those caring for a terminally ill loved one. The purpose of hospice care is to provide comfort and quality of life for a terminally ill person. Hospice care can allow the patient to remain at home and can provide ways to alleviate pain and make the person more comfortable. It is a great option for those who are seriously ill, who have exhausted their treatment possibilities, or who do not wish to continue treatment for a terminal illness.

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5 Ways for Seniors to Alleviate Boredom

Ways for Seniors to Alleviate BoredomYou finally broke free from the 9 to 5 grind and now retirement isn’t what you thought it would be and you are bored, very bored.  Or maybe you are the son, daughter, spouse of a retiree and you see that person aimlessly watching television for hours at a time.  What can be done to alleviate this problem?  Here are some suggestions.

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Alternatives to assisted living facilities and nursing Homes

Portrait of a group of seniors

For many seniors, there will come a time where they cannot live at home by themselves anymore.  Some will be able to move in with adult children, others may move into an assisted living facility, personal care facility or nursing home.  While these options provide security and care, they also result in a loss of independence and choice. Granted, you can’t have everything that you want and as we age, we have to deal with health issues.  Still, if you are of sound mind and in good health, there may be other options available to you.

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Care for the Caregiver

As a careA woman 80 years old with his adult daughter.giver, you are always concerned for your loved one. Sometimes in the midst of things, it’s easy to let your own health and well-being slip. But it is just as important to care for yourself as it is to care for your loved one.  As simple as it is to submerge yourself in the needs of others, remember you have needs too. Here are some tips on how to care for yourself – in case you forget!

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Checklist for Hiring an in Home Care Provider

Home Care Provider & Elder Care Attorney in Bucks CountyMost people prefer to stay in their own home where they are comfortable, secure, and can be independent, rather than receive care in an assisted living/personal care facility.

However, if your loved one decides to remain in his or her home, support can be provided by a home health care provider. Home health care providers offer a wide range of services to ensure that your loved one is well cared for.. When you begin looking for the right home health care provider for your loved one, consider the following list of tips to help you find the right caregiver.

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Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Long-Term Care Facility

Care Facility: Elder Care Attorney in Bucks CountyIt’s one of the most difficult decisions a family can face: Moving an older parent into a long-term care facility. Even if the parent recognizes they can no longer live on their own, there are other major questions to be answered:

How do we know a nursing home is safe? How can we make sure they’ll get the best care? As an elder care attorney in Bucks County, Richard Newman knows how difficult it can to answer these questions. That’s why we’re sharing this list from the AARP.

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Signs an Elderly Loved One Needs Help at Home

There are signs to watch for that will tell you when your elderly loved one needs help at home.

There are signs to watch for that will tell you when your elderly loved one needs help at home.

It is no secret that we are living longer. In fact, the life expectancy for women in the U.S. is 81.2 years and for males, it’s 76.4 years.

Still, that doesn’t mean that elderly parents or relatives will always be spry and able to easily manage their activities of daily living. How can you tell if your loved one needs help at home?

You don’t want to offend them by imposing something on them, but at the same time you don’t want something to happen that could have been avoided, had there been some assistance in place. Here are some signs to watch for:

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The Benefits of Hiring a Geriatric Care Manager

Carole smile colour Mar 09

Family caregivers often overlook the benefits and peace of mind that a geriatric care manager can provide. Caregivers may feel that they know how to care for their loved one in the best way possible. But very few caregivers can manage caring for themselves, their families and elderly loved ones without feeling anxious and overwhelmed at times.

A geriatric care manager is trained and experienced in any of several fields related to long-term care including: nursing, gerontology, social work, psychology, or case management, with a specialized focus on issues related to aging and elder care.

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