July 12, 2016
A Go-To Guide for Choosing a Long-Term Care Facility for a Parent
Though Baby Boomers do focus on cash flow in retirement, planning beyond that with an estate plan is often not on their radar.
When it comes to finding the right long-term care facility for your parent, ideally your loved one is in a position to give input or has already provided input in the past. Still, as a child of a loved one who needs long-term care in Michigan, it’s important to evaluate the most recent information including the financial ability to afford certain facilities and which level of care is most appropriate. By sitting down with an elder law attorney before a health situation escalates, you will have greater peace of mind in making life-changing decisions. According to a report by Kiplinger.com, choosing a long-term care facility for a loved one is daunting. It’s never an easy decision to move someone you care about into a facility, but it’s often in the best interest of the senior citizen. If a doctor diagnosed your parent with Alzheimer’s, it’s vital to your parent’s safety and health that he or she gets the best care possible. Kiplinger cites a report by the Alzheimer’s Association that revealed 75 percent of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s go into a nursing home by the time they reach age 80, which compares to 4 percent of the general population.
Taking the first step
The first step is to talk with your loved ones and doctors or other medical professionals about specific needs. Your parent’s medical providers will advise you on whether he or she needs assisted living to help with daily living activities such as bathing or dressing. Another level of care is “skilled nursing” for those with more complicated health issues or bedridden. Memory care is another classification of care for people dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Thinking about the future
Some people don’t want moved from one facility when they need assisted living and then to another part of town or different city when they need more intensive care. Your loved one can more easily keep the same friends by living in a senior living facility with an entire continuum of care. Some facilities have different floors or separate buildings for different levels of care. Also, talk to your parent about whether he or she would prefer some religious component. Whether it is a chapel services or a faith-based facility, a senior citizen will be happier to have spiritual options.
Crunching the numbers
Assessing what your loved one’s financial situation is easier when you have an elder law attorney with documents drawn up for your parent. Experts say the cost of a long-term care facility often ranges from about $3,600 a month to more than $10,000 a month. If your parent is a veteran, he or she could get financial assistance for long-term care from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Medicaid isn’t going to kick in until your loved one depletes his or her other assets.
Starting the search
Whether you want to stay in Michigan or go outside the state to find a facility is up to your family. However, many older people like staying in their home state to receive care so they are close to loved ones and friends. The eldercarelocator site lets you search for services for older adults. The site is a public service by the U.S. Administration on Aging. You can look up different topics such as Adult Day Program, Alzheimer’s Disease and Caregiver. After creating a list of different potential facilities, set up an appointment to visit in person. Experts recommend you pay close attention to the cleanliness and the way the staff treats people. Use all of your senses to gauge whether or not the facility is up to your standards.
Elder law attorney Christopher J. Berry and the Elder Care Team specializes in a Michigan Retirement Plan Trust. We can make sure your loved one has his or her financial affairs in order including money to pay for long-term care. For more information about choosing a long-term facility, please contact us.