At some point in life, the tide often starts to shift, and adult children who were cared for and raised by their parents then become the caretakers. Perhaps your mother or father has reached a point where you know that he or she needs to transition to a long-term care facility. As you explore the options that are available, you’ll also want to develop a solid long-term care plan for whatever nursing home you wind up choosing for your parent.
Nursing home planning typically involves thorough assessment. The two main issues are health and finances. Your parent might be in relatively good health and able to communicate his or her own needs and wishes. Or, his or her health may have already deteriorated to a point where dementia or other issues have caused incapacitation. Either way, the goal is to find a nursing home and create a plan that best fits your loved one’s immediate and long-term needs.
Long-term care as part of the estate planning process
Many aspects of your loved one’s nursing home plan can be incorporated into his or her estate plan. Your parent may have already granted you power of attorney for health or financial issues. If not, and if he or she is still of sound mind, this is an important issue to consider when preparing for a full transition to a nursing home.
Medicaid versus Medicare
Financial issues may include government assistance programs, such as Medicaid or Medicare. Both programs have separate eligibility requirements, although it’s possible that your loved one may qualify for both. This is known as dual eligibility. In order to execute a long-term care plan that best fits your parent’s needs, it’s important to map out which aid programs are relevant to his or her care.
Periodic reviews of health and plan are necessary
Nursing home planning isn’t a once-for-all process. Your parent’s health will need to be regularly assessed. The overall plan should be periodically reviewed as well, especially the aspects that are part of an estate plan, to check whether any changes or updates are needed. Some states, Illinois included, have recently made changes to their Medicaid laws, which could have an impact on your loved one’s asset protection and nursing home, long-term care plans.
It’s helpful to enlist guidance and support from someone who is well-versed in elder law issues before initiating the estate planning or nursing home planning process. The more detailed your parent’s plan is, the less likely it is that legal complications will arise down the line; if they do, it’s good to know where to seek immediate support to help resolve the issue.